Podium Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

Do We Really Know What Interventions Work For Which People? Exploring The Unintended, But Useful, Consequences Of Research Design In An Expressive Writing RCT. (#180)

Annalise M Roache 1
  1. Auckland University of Technology, Auckland Central, AUCKLAND, New Zealand

Positive Psychology Interventions are the central mechanism that bring to life the science of Positive Psychology, however this science is not one size fits all, it is imperative that we understand what interventions work for who, in what circumstances. Expressive writing has supported health and psychological improvements in clinical and non-clinical populations and this presentation will discuss the unexpected findings of an expressive writing Randomised Control Trial where a general population convenience sample (n=185) undertook a one-off, online, writing session. A safety precaution saw participants who scored above the cut off on depressive symptomology (CES-D) ring-fenced in an elevated cluster (n=71), the balance (n=114) were randomly allocated in a 2x2 factorial-design (factors writing topic and writing instruction) or an active control group.

Significant effects for all measures were exhibited with analysis revealing the effect was a result of the elevated symptomology cohort. Prior findings could not be replicated for any of the non-symptomology cohorts. Had the sample been treated as a whole, which is common practice, these significant findings would have skewed the data, or worse, been lost. Leaving the researcher to ask, how often does this happen in our research and do we really know what works for who?