New research has shown that maintaining a blog has significant psychological benefits for teens suffering from social anxiety. This study, The Therapeutic Value of Adolescents’ Blogging About Social–Emotional Difficulties, has been published in the APA journal Psychological Services.
“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 the study’s lead author, Meyran Boniel-Nissim, PhD, of the University of Haifa, Israel. However, it is not only the writing that is responsible. The study found that almost all the blog comments were supportive and positive. As any blogger knows, nothing makes a blogger feel better than a nice comment.
There were 161 teens, with an average age of 15, in the study. They were divided into 6 groups. 4 were assigned to blog. Two wrote about social problems, only one allowed comments and two wrote about anything, only one allowed comments. Of the other two, one wrote a private diary and one did nothing.
“Self-esteem, social anxiety, emotional distress and the number of positive social behaviors improved significantly for the bloggers when compared to the teens who did nothing and those who wrote private diaries. Bloggers who were instructed to write specifically about their difficulties and whose blogs were open to comments improved the most. All of these results were consistent at the two month follow-up.”
What a fascinating study and a great idea. And it is free and easy to try. Anyone can set up a free blog on Google’s Blogger and it is simple to use. You don’t have to use your own name if your teen would prefer to be anonymous. Or Tumblr is very popular now and good for short posts. Blogging is also a great way for teens to hone their writing skills, so there is a secondary benefit to teen blogging.
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