Date of this Version
The Nebraska Educator, Volume 6, Issue 2 (june 2022), pp. 48-71.
Traumatic experiences are very common and have a high lifetime prevalence rate, which a large body of research indicates negatively impact the ability to self-regulate, including emotional and attentional regulation. This study focused on traumatic experiences caused by peer victimization and aimed to examine the effects on self-regulation after exposure to artificial trauma and journaling in graduate students. A convenient sample of 9 graduate students were randomly assigned to the control or intervention group. All participants were asked to engage in a journaling activity after watching the assigned video. Three emotional Stroop tasks were administered to participants: before watching the assigned video, after watching the assigned video, and after journaling. The results suggest that after the exposure to artificial trauma, participants in the intervention group had quicker average response time (ART) across negative and neutral word types with 100% accuracy for negative words and lower average accuracy rate (AAR) for neutral and positive words. The control group had quicker ART and slightly lower AAR for negative words, slower ART, and slightly lower AAR to neutral words, and remained the same on positive words with increased AAR. The results also suggest that, after journaling, all participants had slower ART for negative words, and quicker ART for neutral and positive words; there were increases in AAR across all word types. These findings suggest that both trauma and journaling have short-term effects on attentional processing in the context of emotion and point to the potential promise of journaling in interventions to support self-regulation.