The Therapeutic Effect of Reflective Writing on Loneliness During Quarantine

Document Type


Publication Date


Academic Year



Introduction: Social isolation has been shown to foster a negative emotional state of being, which may heighten feelings of loneliness. In this study, researchers examine the role of reflective writing in aiding emotional healing by decreasing a general sense of loneliness felt by individuals in the setting of COVID-19 and quarantine.

Methods: At the beginning and end of a 4-week period during quarantine, 32 first- and second-year medical students took the UCLA loneliness survey and the RS14 survey via Qualtrics to assess their loneliness and resilience levels. Weekly UCLA loneliness surveys were administered to measure how loneliness changed on a weekly basis. 13 of the 32 students volunteered to be part of the control group while the remaining students (19 students) volunteered to be in the experimental writing group. The experimental group partook in a reflective writing exercise for 20 minutes twice a week to a prewritten prompt.

Results: A two-way ANOVA showed no significant difference between average resilience scores between control and writing groups before and after the study. However, the writing group’s average resilience score after the study was higher than their average baseline score. Additionally, a statistically significant decrease was seen in loneliness (p=0.01; p<0.05) throughout the study, but no significant difference was seen between the control and writing group. When weekly loneliness score averages were plotted for both groups, a downward trend was seen in the writing group.

Discussion: There is potential for reflective writing to serve as a mechanism to decrease loneliness during social isolation. This may be useful for fostering healthy coping skills in patients who are unable to lead socially fulfilling lives. The effects of reflective writing on loneliness and resilience is still unclear, and future studies should examine larger sample sizes and employ a more controlled study.



This document is currently not available here.