Date of Award

12-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kertz, Sarah

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation has received increased attention from clinicians and researchers alike in recent decades and subsequently has been incorporated into treatments for a variety of psychological conditions, including anxiety. Although a small body of experimental research examining the influence of mindfulness on anxiety has developed, few studies to date have experimentally tested the effects of mindfulness meditations beyond a brief breathing meditation. This gap in the literature restricts our understanding of the efficacy of various brief mindfulness interventions currently utilized as clinical tools for anxiety. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to expand upon previous studies by examining the differential effect of two mindfulness exercises – a mindful body scan and a breathing meditation. More specifically, the current project investigated the influence of each intervention on 1) state mindfulness, 2) state cognitive anxiety, and 3) state somatic anxiety. Further, the project examined the moderating influence of participants’ reactions and compliance to each condition on pre-to-post intervention changes in cognitive and somatic anxiety. The current study suggests that brief mindfulness tasks induced state decentering, but not curiosity. However, there appears to be relative uniformity in the effect of both interventions on cognitive and somatic anxiety. Finally, the current study indicates that enjoyment while completing a mindfulness exercise is an important moderating factor on the efficacy of mindfulness interventions for anxiety.

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