Table of Contents
ISRN Rehabilitation
Volume 2013, Article ID 784249, 8 pages
Research Article

Can Written Disclosure Reduce Psychological Distress and Increase Objectively Measured Injury Mobility of Student-Athletes? A Randomized Controlled Trial

1Department of Psychology and Allied Health Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK
2Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy, Free University of Brussels (VUB), 1050 Brussels, Belgium
3School of Sport Stirling, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK

Received 10 May 2013; Accepted 4 June 2013

Academic Editors: K.-H. Lin, M. Schmitter-Edgecombe, and Y. Wu

Copyright © 2013 Elaine Duncan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Injured students-athletes took part in a randomized controlled trial to test whether written disclosure could reduce psychological distress and improve injury mobility. Writing took place alongside prescribed physical rehabilitation and consisted of three 20-minute writing sessions, once a week for three consecutive weeks. Participants in the experimental injury-writing group followed a structured form of written disclosure, called the guided disclosure protocol (GDP). They firstly, wrote about the onset of their injury in a chronological manner, secondly, they explicitly labelled their emotions and described the impact of the injury, finally they wrote about future coping and psychological growth. Controls wrote about nonemotional and noninjury related topics. In addition to self-report measures, a physiotherapist, blind to experimental condition, assessed mobility at the injury site. Although self-report indices remained unchanged, the GDP group evidenced a significant improvement in injury mobility compared to controls.