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Findings from a new study contradicted an early study that indicated journaling eases asthma. The researchers reported that patients with asthma breathed better after writing about stressful experiences, compared with writing about neutral subjects. The 1999 study found individuals with asthma who wrote about stressful experiences for 20 minutes per day for 3 days had improved lung function when they wrote about neutral topics, and those improvements lasted for months.
For the current study, reported in Psychosomatic Medicine (January/February 2005), the researchers asked 114 adults with the same severity of asthma to journal about positive experiences, stressful experiences, or neutral experiences for 20 minutes a week for 3 weeks. The results of the study found writing about stressful events caused the participants to feel more upset, sad, and angry than others.