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November 17, 1999

Symptom Reduction After Writing About Stressful Experiences

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthorMargaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephenLurieMD PhD, Fishbein FellowIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;282(19):1811-1812. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-282-19-jbk1117

To the Editor: Dr Smyth and colleagues1 present data from 126 patients with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis who were randomized to either writing about the most stressful event of their lives or about emotionally neutral topics. They concluded that writing about stressful experiences caused clinically relevant improvement in disease status in patients with mild to moderate asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. We believe that these results, although provocative, provide insufficient evidence that writing about stressful life experiences brings about clinically meaningful symptom reduction in patients with these diseases. We have the following concerns with the study's methods.

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