Keeping a journal has long been encouraged in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of its healing power, and a new study published in Psychological Services has found that blogging has the same effect on teenagers who are dealing with social awkwardness. Writing apparently decreases social distress and gives them the confidence to take part in more social activities.

For the study, researchers recruited 161 teenagers between the ages 14 of 17 who had one form of social anxiety or another. While the majority of them were girls, there were 37 boys who agreed to participate as well. To gauge just how helpful blogging can be, the participants were divided into several groups. Four groups were assigned to blog at least twice a week, with the first group blogging about their own social problems and allowing comments, the second spilling the same issues while disabling comments, the third writing about general topics on an open blog, and the fourth doing the same on a private blog. They were all asked to use nicknames and to keep their identities a secret.


The two groups left didn't blog online. The researchers tasked one group with keeping a private diary on a computer, while the other served as a control group and didn’t keep a journal of any sort. After 10 weeks, the researchers interviewed their subjects and learned that those who were able to blog showed improvements in self-confidence and overall self-esteem. Those who wrote on open journals, however, seemed to have reaped the most rewards.

While the results of the study are promising, the researchers have not accounted for negative comments that could reduce the positive effects of blogging. Additional research into this matter is required, but the results so far show that it doesn’t hurt to start a private online journal. As long as teenagers take care not to divulge too much information about themselves (such as personal numbers, home addresses, and the like), there is no harm in seeking comfort online.

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(Photo by Omaitargh via Flickr Creative Commons)

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