Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Faculty Mentor Department

Communication Studies

Faculty Mentor

Stephen Yoshimura


Slam poetry, poetry, depression, creative writing, expressive writing, writing

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology | Child Psychology | Clinical Psychology | Cognition and Perception | Cognitive Psychology | Community Psychology | Counseling Psychology | Counselor Education | Digital Humanities | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Fiction | Health Communication | Health Psychology | Multicultural Psychology | Nonfiction | Other Psychology | Poetry | Social Psychology


Given that depression is the “leading cause of disability worldwide,” and that less than 50% of people suffering from depression receive treatment, this study aims to provide support for a globally accessible depression treatment (WHO, 2012). The study conducted implemented an internet-based treatment for depression in which users were provided an opportunity to watch slam poetry videos related to mental health issues and write free responses regarding the content of the videos and their subjective experience of depression. Numerous studies provide support for the effectiveness of expressive writing, online mental health interventions, and slam poetry in particular for reducing symptoms of depression. Data collection occurred in two forms. Survey data about participants’ moods was collected before and after watching the slam poetry videos and again after providing the written response. Additionally, the researchers performed text analysis using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) on the written responses to track use of negative and positive emotion words, among others, which have been shown to indicate levels of depression. The data showed an overall increase in positive emotion words and decrease in negative emotion words in participant surveys after each stage of the study. In addition, the text analyses indicated a greater percentage of positive over negative words used by participants in their free-responses. These data support the hypothesis that engaging in slam poetry online can be a globally accessible and effective tool for improving mood.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




© Copyright 2016 Spencer J. Ruchti, Mercedes Becker, Cara McKee, Austin Herron, and Alex Swalling