Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The utility of mindfulness techniques to regulate emotions and enhance distress tolerance is an area of expanding research interest. Decentering, a mindfulness mechanism believed to exert therapeutic influence, is the realization that thoughts, feelings, and reactions are transitory patterns of mental activity. Existing research indicates that decentering may occur through brief mindfulness interventions. Most studies concerning brief mindfulness induce a state of mindfulness prior to a task to examine its influence on dependent variables, such as cognitive or emotional outcomes after mindfulness. This study is novel and fills a gap in the literature regarding the utility of inducing state mindfulness both before and after a distressing task for producing state mindfulness, subjective distress, positive affect, and negative affect.
Undergraduate student participants were randomly assigned either to a control group or one of three intervention groups: (1) preventive mindfulness before a laboratory distress task; (2) recovery mindfulness after a distress task; or (3) preventive mindfulness before and recovery mindfulness after a distress task. The distress task was a neuropsychological test, specifically the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task (PASAT). This challenging task is typically used to assess attentional processing, immediate memory, and attention; however, in the current study, it was utilized as a laboratory stressor.
The overall results indicated that preventive mindfulness produces higher state mindfulness and less subjective distress but no differences in negative or positive affect when compared to a control group. Recovery mindfulness resulted in higher state mindfulness, increased positive affect and decreased subjective distress but not lower negative affect when compared to a control group. The cumulative effect of preventive and recovery mindfulness resulted in higher state mindfulness, higher positive affect, and less subjective distress but not lower negative affect when compared to a control group. Furthermore, the results of a series of mixed model ANOVAs of time x group are also reported on the same outcome measures. These results are discussed in light of clinical implications. Finally, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Hanson, Sheila, "Decentering From Distress In The Moment: A Brief Randomized Control Trial" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 4074.