University of Portland Study


In Spring, 2020, University of Portland Professor, Kevin Jones Ph.D. and his students Ryan Martin, Sofia Mendez, and Kaylie Haas found that after writing poetry using the Pongo Method, youth participants reported decreases in negative mood and PTSD symptoms while reporting increases in positive moods and resilient attitudes.

The study analyzed 6 youth participants' self-reports on 3 surveys before (pre) and after (post) writing poetry using the Pongo method. These 6 youth had trauma in their backgrounds. The 3 surveys in the pre and post tests included:

Profile of Mood States (POMS)--which asks participants to rate how much at the given moment, they're feeling various moods.

Child PTSD Symptoms Scale (CPSS)--which asks participants to rate how often they have been experiencing distress as the result of trauma.

Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG)--which asks participants to identify any increases in resilient attitudes (e.g. "I can now handle big problems..."; "I appreciate (enjoy) each day more than I used to"; "I have new ideas about how I want things to be when I grow up").

After writing poetry with the Pongo Method, the 6 participants reported:

  • statistically significant decreases in fatigue,
  • decreases in other negative moods in the categories of anger, depression, and confusion
  • increases in the categories of esteem-related affect and vigor (measured by the POMS survey)

  • statistically significant increases in resilient attitudes (as measured by the Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) survey).

  • decreases in PTSD symptoms (as measured by the CPSS survey).

Though this is a small and preliminary set of data, the results are encouraging, and Professor Jones's method robust. More studies of this kind will be launching soon, so expect more exciting findings to come.