Effectiveness of Expressive Writing protocol in Palliative Care Healthworkers: a quantitative study

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Chiara Cosentino http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1324-4007
Clelia D'apice
Maria Del Gaudio
Chiara Bertoletti
Manuela Bini
Maria Cristina Liotti
Elisa Melli
Francesca Tesa
Leopoldo Sarli
Giovanna Artioli


Palliative Care, Expressive Writing, Resilience, Stress, Compassion satisfaction, Organizational commitment


Background and aim of the work: Palliative Care professionals are exposed to intense emotional environment. This puts them at risk for Compassion Fatigue and Burnout. The protective factors that can counter their onset are Compassion Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment and Resilience. Expressive Writing is a valid tool for adapting to traumatic events and enhancing psychological well-being. Aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of the Expressive Writing in Palliative Care professionals on Compassion Satisfaction, Organizational Commitment, Resilience, Compassion Fatigue and perceived distress. Methods: Prospective experimental study with experimental/control groups and pre/post measurements. 50 Palliative Care professionals were recruited in Northern and Central Italy. Participants filled: Organizational Commitment Questionnaire; ProQol - revision III; Resilience Scale for Adults; Impact of Event-Scale Revised; Emotion Thermometer; ad hoc questionnaire for the evaluation of protocol usefulness. Results: Wilcoxon test demonstrated change in Continuative Commitment (Z = -3.357, p = .001), anger (Z = -2.214, p = .027), sleep (Z = -2.268, p = .023), help (Z = -2.184, p = .029), intrusiveness (Z = -2.469, p = .014), hyperarousal (Z = -2.717, p = .007), and total IES (Z = -2.456 , p =, 014). Mann Whitney test showed a significantly lower score on post-test Intrusiveness in the experimental group (U = 202, p = .038). Conclusions: The Expressive Writing intervention was effective in improving organizational and emotional variables. Expressive Writing supports healthcare professionals in relieving the burden of traumatic episodes, ordering associated thoughts and emotions, and implementing a process of deep comprehension.


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