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How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words by Richard Slatcher & James Pennebake
Love Et Al
So Lord Byron was really onto something....


Current issue of Psychological Science:
Research Report
How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words: The Social Effects of
Expressive Writing

Richard B. Slatcher and James W. Pennebaker
ABSTRACT ‹ Writing about emotional experiences is associated with a host
of positive outcomes. This study extended the expressive-writing paradigm to
the realm of romantic relationships to examine the social effects of writing. For 3 consecutive days, one person from each of 86 dating couples either wrote about his or her deepest thoughts and feelings about the relationship or wrote about his or her daily activities. In the days before and after writing, instant messages were collected from the couples. Participants who wrote about their relationship were significantly more
likely to still be dating their romantic partners 3 months later. Linguistic
analyses of the instant messages revealed that participants and their partners used significantly more positive and negative emotion words in the days following the expressive-writing manipulation if the participants had written about their relationship than if they had written about their daily activities. Increases in positive emotion words partially mediated the relation between expressive writing and relationship stability.
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