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Journal Critique

            How the Act of Writing Effects a Person's Health.
             This study examined how the act of writing can have positive effects on a person's health. This study published initially in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA. 1999;281:1304-1309)found that some people with chronic illness had improvements in their health after writing about life stressors. .
             The study looked at 112 patients, in a randomized controlled trial. The patients spent an hour a day writing. When the patients were evaluated in four months, the study found that almost half had improved heath. The researchers said, "These gains were beyond those attributable to the standard medical care that all participants were receiving. It remains unknown whether these health improvements will persist beyond four months or whether this exercise will prove effective with other diseases." .
             It seems the results of this study are skewed. The researchers want us to believe that writing is proven to help with our overall health. The actual data combining all completing patients, 33 (47.1%) of 70 experimental patients had clinically relevant improvement, whereas nine (24.3%) of 37 control patients had improvement (P=.001). This indicates that less than half of the patients actually improved. .
             The researchers believe that the writing is effective due to the fact that there was a marked improvement in those patients that wrote as opposed to the control group. The control group had no improvement. .
             Discussion: .
             This study was a foundation for other studies in relation to writing and chronic illness. Statistically if we were to flip a coin relative to the same amount of patients we may come up with the same numbers. After reading this study and reading articles that referenced this study, it seems to me the data is not conclusive. Data suggests that people feel better when they are venting or when someone pays attention to them.

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