Coping through blogging: A review of studies on the potential benefits of weblogs for stress reduction

Vol.9,No.2(2015)

Abstract
This paper provides a descriptive overview of the empirical evidence for potential effects of reflective weblog writing for coping with stress. Seventeen studies meeting the inclusion criteria are summarized in a systematic synopsis. Sixteen studies focus on self-initiated blogging in informal contexts. Only one study examines mandated weblog writing for coping in an institutionalized context. Results indicate that the public nature of weblogs opens up a variety of possibilities for both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping, most importantly through social support. Although these studies show promising results, it remains unclear if and how the benefits of self-initiated blogging can be transferred to more formal settings. Thus, future research should examine how blogging can be mandated and scaffolded in order to foster coping strategies and decrease stress levels. For this purpose, experimentally controlled and longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach.

Keywords:
Weblogs; Blogging; Writing Therapy; Coping; Stress; Review
Author biographies

Dominik Petko

Author photo Dominik Petko is Professor for educational technology and empirical research methods at the Schwyz University of Teacher Education (PH Schwyz) in Switzerland. Since 2003, he has directed the Institute for Media and Schools and is Dean for Research and Development. His publications cover a broad range of topics in the field of teaching and learning with technology in schools and in higher education. His most recent works in teacher education focus on reflective weblog writing for dealing with stress in pre-service teacher education internships.

Nives Egger

Author photo Nives Egger studied educational psychology in Berne, Switzerland. From 2008 to 2012 she worked at the Berne University of Teacher Education (PH Bern) as a research assistant. Since 2012, she has been working at the Schwyz University of Teacher Education (PH Schwyz) in Switzerland as a research assistant. Her main research areas are e-learning with weblogs, dealing with stress through the use of weblog writing, and stress in teacher internships.

Felix Michael Schmitz

Author photo Felix Michael Schmitz, lic. phil, is a research collaborator at the Institute of Medical Education (IML) at the University of Berne, Switzerland. He is engaged in three main areas of activity: usability consulting, lecturing and research in higher education. He is involved in several research projects that broadly aim at improving undergraduate healthcare training. In 2013 he entered the PhD program at the Graduate School for Health Sciences, and his thesis focuses on instructional approaches in the area of patient-centered communication.

Alexandra Totter

Author photo Alexandra Totter is a lecturer at the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PH Zürich) in Switzerland and a member of the research center for school development. She holds a Masters’ degree in psychology from the University of Vienna (Austria). Her work and research is focused on the development of educational usage scenarios for and the evaluation of multi-media-based learning and teaching environments, as well as evaluation research as part of textbook development.

Thomas Hermann

Author photo Thomas Hermann has a PhD in English and American literature. He has been a lecturer in Media Education and Academic Writing at the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PH Zürich) since 2002. As of January 2016 he will head the Media and Didactics Center (MDZ) at the Thurgau University of Teacher Education (PH Thurgau) in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. His research interests focus firstly on media literacy, especially visual literacy, visual expression of children and youths, visual communications and the impact of pictures in teaching and learning environments, as well as on the relationship between writing and learning in formal and informal settings.

Sissel Guttormsen

Author photo Sissel Guttormsen is a psychologist with a research track in cognitive science, learning technologies and assessment. She has been a professor of medical education since 2005 and the director of the Institute of Medical Education (IML) at the medical faculty of Bern, Switzerland. At the IML she is actively promoting research into and services for educational issues as well as professional high stake further education. She has headed the establishment of the ‘Graduate School for Health Sciences’ at the University of Bern and engages in the further development of these programs as well as in the post-graduate course of ‘Master of Medical Education’ at the IML.
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