Loughborough University
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Narrative, disclosure and psychophysiology: a mixed methods exploration of emotion

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posted on 2020-01-28, 16:50 authored by Darren Ellis
The research in this thesis focuses on the ways in which participants represent highly charged negative emotional experiences in narrative form through vocal disclosures, and the relationships between disclosure style and psychophysiological activity. This thesis also attempts to theorise some of the psychophysiological mechanisms that may be associated with the effects of emotional disclosure. Participants were randomly assigned to an emotion (disclosure) group (n = 16) in which they talked about a particular highly charged negative experience, or a neutral (control) group (n = 16) in which they talked about their typical morning. Participants undertook these tasks on three separate occasions, each separated by one week. Skin conductance levels (SCLs) were measured throughout. Statistical analyses were conducted to look at possible SCL differences between the two groups and associations between the disclosure style and SCL variations. Although there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups’ SCLs, there were significant differences in SCLs with regard to disclosure style. Qualitative narrative and discourse analyses were undertaken on 4 selected participants, chosen on the basis of clinically significant SCL moves. These analyses revealed that neutral participants also engaged in forms of emotional disclosure through forms of identity negotiation that were constructed within their talk concerning their typical mornings. The qualitative analysis also identified disclosure styles that may be associated with variations in psychophysiological activity.



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Loughborough University

Rights holder

© Darren Ellis

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en


John Cromby

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral