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A preliminary investigation into whether attentional bias influences mood outcomes following emotional disclosure

Pennebaker, J. W.; Brant, Heather; Vedhara, K.; Adamopoulos, E.; Byrne-Davis, L.; MacKintosh, B.; Hoppitt, L.; Tovee, M.; Miles, J.


J. W. Pennebaker

Heather Brant

K. Vedhara

E. Adamopoulos

L. Byrne-Davis

B. MacKintosh

L. Hoppitt

M. Tovee

J. Miles


Background There is considerable interest in factors which may influence the efficacy of emotional disclosure. To date, a range of demographic and psychological variables have been considered. However, consideration has not yet been given to cognitive factors known to influence emotional processing such as attentional bias (AB). Purpose We present the results from an exploratory study examining the role of AB in influencing mood outcomes following emotional disclosure. Method Individuals with negative and avoidant ABs (i.e., individuals vigilant for and individuals avoidant of negative emotional material, respectively) were identified by asking 105 individuals to complete a standardized AB task. Individuals in the bottom quartile of AB scores were categorized as having a negative AB and individuals in the top quartile were categorized as having an avoidant AB. These participants (n=38) completed the emotional disclosure intervention and mood was assessed at 1, 4, and 8 weeks post-intervention. Results Negative AB individuals showed greater improvements in depression, anger, fatigue, and total mood disturbance. These results were unrelated to alexithymia. Conclusion These results provide preliminary support for the proposal that AB may influence the effects of emotional disclosure on mood. © 2010 International Society of Behavioral Medicine.


Pennebaker, J. W., Brant, H., Vedhara, K., Brant, H., Adamopoulos, E., Byrne-Davis, L., …Pennebaker, J. W. (2010). A preliminary investigation into whether attentional bias influences mood outcomes following emotional disclosure. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17(3), 195-206.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2010
Journal International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Print ISSN 1070-5503
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 195-206
Keywords attentional bias, mood outcomes, emotional disclosure
Public URL
Publisher URL