English Literature and Psychology
Society is well aware of the positive effects of literature and reading, but a lesser-known fact is that literature also has therapeutic effects on negative emotional states. This meta-analysis looks at bibliotherapy’s effects on negative emotional states such as depression, stress, and anxiety in different populations. Sixteen studies were gathered from databases such as PsychInfo and Academic Search Complete, and Cohen’s d effect size was computed for each study. In pre-post research designs, bibliotherapy was shown to be effective for reducing depression (d ranging from 0.63 to 1.11), stress and anxiety (d = 0.60), geriatric depression (d = 0.66), and affective disorders and schizophrenia (d = 0.11). Bibliotherapy was shown to be as effective as treatment-as-usual in experimental designs. These findings support the creation of in-house bibliotherapy groups for all ages in university and public libraries to help aid against depression.