Past research (.pdf) has shown that keeping a personal diary and other forms of expressive writing can boost a person's mental and physical health. Now findings recently published in Psychological Services suggest blogging may improve troubled teens' self-esteem and help them cope with social anxiety and better relate to their friends.
In the study (.pdf), Israeli researchers randomly surveyed high school students about their psychological well-being and selected 161 teens whose questionnaire results indicated they suffered from some level of social anxiety or distress. The participants were divided into several groups. Two groups were instructed to blog about social problems, two more were given the freedom to blog about whatever they wanted, another group was asked to keep a personal diary on their computer and the control group did nothing. Volunteers were assigned to publish blog posts twice a week for ten weeks. Students' self-esteem, everyday social activities and behaviors were assessed before, immediately after and two months after the 10-week experiment. The Huffington Post reports:
The researchers found that the teens who blogged -- as compared to those who did nothing or kept a private diary -- displayed greater improvements in self-esteem, social ease, and emotional well-being. The bloggers who wrote specifically about their social difficulties and those whose posts were open to comments showed the most improvement.
Interestingly, the study results showed that the majority of comments posted on participants' blogs were supportive and positive in nature.