The teenagers were assigned to one of six groups. Four of the groups blogged at least twice weekly: one group wrote about their social problems in a blog open to comments, another wrote about those issues in a closed blog, a third wrote about general topics on an open blog and the fourth wrote similarly for one that was closed. All of the blogging groups used nicknames and were instructed not to reveal their real names online. The final two groups included one that wrote a private diary on a computer about social difficulties and a control group that wasn’t assigned to write at all.
All of the writing groups showed significant improvement after ten weeks of blogging, as rated by their own reports of feeling better and socializing more and by experts who did not know their group assignments. The bloggers said they were more self confident, had better self-esteem and were emotionally more comfortable with social situations than they had been before they began writing. Those who blogged on sites that included comments, however, benefited most, and reported feeling less social distress, gaining more self-esteem and engaging in more social activity in real life. The improvements continued two months later, at the study’s last follow up.