#271 – Coping with Breaking up

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PSM 293 Coping with breaking up

Based on research by Lewandowski, Gary W. (2009) adapted by Juanita Baker, Ph.D from the American Psychology Association.

Breaking up with a romantic partner can be devastating. Break-ups can result in depression. When asked about how a recent break-up influenced them, people list loneliness, distress, rejection, worthlessness and a loss of self or sense of who they are as a person. What is an effective coping strategy to promote growth?

Researchers examined whether a writing intervention facilitated coping with a romantic break-up in nearly a hundred single participants who experienced break-ups in the past three months. One group wrote about the positive aspects of their break-up. Another wrote about the negative aspects, while a third wrote about a topic unrelated to the break-up. All groups wrote at home for 15 to 30 minutes daily for three consecutive days without any feedback from the experimenter.

Both males and females who focused their writing on positive aspects of their break-up (such as factors leading up to it, the actual break-up, and the time right afterwards) reported 2 days later, more positive emotions (e.g., confident, happiness, optimism, and thankfulness) regarding their relationship’s end and did not experience any increase in negative emotions.

Reduce Heartache. Write down all the positive aspects of your break-up!



Lewandowski, G. (2009). Promoting positive emotions following relationship dissolution through writing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(1), 21-31.


For more details see:


American Psychological Association

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