The impact of writing about life goals on health: Do executive functions play a role?
Outline of research project
Writing about life experiences - inclusive of traumatic events, positive events and imagery of a best possible future self - has been found to be associated with benefits across physical health, psychological wellbeing, and cognitive function. My PhD aims to further this knowledge, by examining whether encouraging specificity of life goals through writing may alleviate symptoms of depression, and increase motivation to achieve goals. This would be expected in light of evidence that individuals with depression commonly 'over-generalise' goals, thus reducing motivation for attainment, and augmenting learned helplessness. Furthermore, given that executive functions include skills crucial for the planning of goals, my work aims to explore whether levels of various executive functions influence the efficacy of the writing intervention.
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Director of studies
Dr Katie Cutts