Blogs May Benefit Socially Distressed Teenagers25 January, 2012 at 07:03 | Posted in Body & Mind, Children, IT and Media, Science | Leave a comment
Tags: Body & Mind, Children, health, IT and Media, psychology, Science
Blogging may help teenagers who suffer from social anxiety improve their self-esteem and relate better with their friends, according to a new study.
“Research has shown that writing a personal diary and other forms of expressive writing are a great way to release emotional distress and just feel better,” said study lead author Meyran Boniel-Nissim of Israel’s University of Haifa in a press release.
“Teens are online anyway, so blogging enables free expression and easy communication with others.”
Troubled teens who expressed their concerns through a blog appear to benefit more than from writing in a private diary, according to the study. And blogs that allowed comments from readers seem to enhance the positive effects.
“Although cyberbullying and online abuse are extensive and broad, we noted that almost all responses to our participants’ blog messages were supportive and positive in nature,” co-author Azy Barak said in the release.
Randomly selected high school students in Israel were asked to fill out a survey about their feelings on the quality of their social relationships. Those showing signs of social anxiety or distress were selected for the study.
Four groups of students were asked to run a blog for 10 weeks, posting at least twice a week. Two of the groups were told to focus on their social problems when posting, with one group not accepting comments and the other open to comments.
The other two groups could write about whatever they wanted, and similarly one group was open to comments. There were two control groups: one group writing in a private diary about their social problems and the other group doing nothing.
Students were judged to have poor social and emotional conditions if they wrote too much about their personal or relationship problems or showed signs of low self-esteem.
The bloggers improved significantly in self-esteem and showed more positive social behavior compared to the control groups. Bloggers who were asked to write specifically about their problems and had their posts open to comments improved the most.
The study was published online in the journal Psychological Services.
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