The role of story-making in disclosure writing: The psychometrics of narrative

Anna Graybeal, Janel D. Sexton, James W. Pennebaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Writing about self-relevant emotional topics has a wide range of mental and physical health benefits. An appealing explanation for this phenomenon is that writing facilitates 'story-making' - the ability to make coherent and meaningful stories out of events in one's life - and it is forming a good story that promotes the health benefits. Despite the recent attention to this idea, the psychometrics and correlates of story-making are not known. The purpose of the current study was to explore this idea by measuring participants' story-making ability when writing about both emotional and unemotional topics and relate this to health, personality variables, and linguistic dimensions. Story-making was reliably assessed by independent raters, except for nonemotional topics. The ability to make good stories was not, however, consistent across topic, and story-making did not correlate with personality dimensions nor did it predict the health outcomes of participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology and Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Psychometrics
  • Story-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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