Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


This research investigation examined the influence of writing about the most meaningful life experience (MMLE) on the participants’ subjective weli-being (SWB) using a variation of Pennebaker’s expressive writing paradigm. Participants were 5:T undergraduate students enrolled at the University of North Dakota who were randomly assigned to one of two conditions (a) MMLE gu up: write about the MMLE, or (b) control topic: write about your plans for the day. Participants completed a consent form, demographic questionnaire, Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and Positive Affect Negative Affect Scale (PmNAS). Participants then wrote about an assigned topic for 20 minutes each day over 3 consecutive days. After each writing session, participants rated how important, emotional, rewarding, difficult, and upsetting the experience was on a scale from 1 (not at all) to 5 (extremely much)

One day and two weeks after the expressive writing intervention, the participants completed the SWLS and the PANAS to measure the influence on their SWB. The results suggested that writing about the MMLE was associated with having a significant increase in positive atfect and no effect on negative affect one day and two weeks after the writing exercise. Participants in the MMLE condition also rated the experience as more important, emotional, rewarding, difficult, and not upsetting compared to those in the neutral condition. These results partially suggest that writing about the MMLE may provide an ;> L rt.ional psychologically effective way to benefit from expressive writing.