Mental health recovery and creative writing groups: A systematic review

Sara Skriver Mundy, Benedikte Kudahl, Birgit Bundesen , Lone Christina Hellström, Bent Rosenbaum, Lene Falgaard Eplov

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Background: Many studies have described how creative writing may support recovery from mental disorders; however, this has rarely been reviewed systematically in research studies.
Purpose: This study aimed to gain an overview of the current evidence of the effects of facilitated, group-based creative writing interventions on mental health-related clinical and personal recovery.
Methods: A systematic review of the literature was conducted in February–March 2019 using the following databases: PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, Scopus, and CINAHL.
Results: In total, 7743 records were assessed for eligibility and six studies were included; two quantitative and four qualitative studies. Only one study considered clinical recovery and found that symptoms of depression decreased from moderate to mild from pre- to post-intervention. Personal recovery findings were coded according to the CHIME framework. An indication of potential positive impacts on connectedness, empowerment, and identity was identified. However, quantitative and qualitative studies are scarce, heterogeneous, and with methodological limitations.
Conclusions: Creative writing may support personal recovery by promoting connectedness, empowerment, and identity. However, more research is needed on facilitated, group-based creative writing interventions for individuals recovering from mental illness.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordic journal of arts, culture and health
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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