The Influence of Positive Writing on Reported Stress and Job Performance




Harrell, Erma M.

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Occupational stress can be a significant burden for individuals and organizations. Although work-related stress has been addressed in a number of occupations, those in the restaurant industry tend to be left out of work-stress research even though this sector employs more people than any other job sector in the United States. The present study addresses this particular group and the effects of positive writing on measures of stress and job performance compared to a control group who wrote about a neutral topic. Stress was measured using the Work Stress Inventory (WSI) which measures intensity and frequency of occupational risk and occupational stress. Monetary sales were used to indicate job performance measures. Although studies have demonstrated significant benefits of disclosing negative emotions through writing and through expressing positive emotions, writing about positive emotions did not differ from writing about a neutral topic when comparing measures of stress and job performance. Although there were no differences between writing conditions, there was a significant main effect of pre-test vs. post-test on subdivisions of the WSI such as intensity of occupational stress and frequency of occupational stress. Possible explanations for these results are provided in addition to discussion of improvements on the research as well as future implications.



job stress, self-disclosure, creative writing, emotions


Harrell, E. M. (2009). The influence of positive writing on reported stress and job performance (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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