Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Kerri K. Morris

Second Advisor

Dr. Bradley Smith

Third Advisor

Dr. Christopher White


This thesis examines the ways in which expressive writing helps individuals process trauma, and, specifically, how the implementation of expressive writing exercises into the first-year writing classroom might positively benefit university students. It begins with an in-depth exploration of previous expressive writing studies and an analysis of the ways in which expressive writing provides physical and emotional benefits and assists in the processing of trauma.

This thesis additionally examines the traumatic impact of COVID-19 on the global population and how expressive writing might serve to assist in the processing of this trauma. Finally, I put forth the thesis offers suggestions as to the ways expressive writing might specifically be integrated into the first-year writing classroom at the university level following the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help students both process the impact of the pandemic as well as assist in student success in the first-year writing classroom and throughout their academic careers.