Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of a mindfulness exercise on participants’ distress disclosure (as measured by the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count). I employed a trauma written disclosure paradigm as an analogue to a therapy session in regard to disclosure. It was predicted that participants who were asked to engage in a 15-minute mindfulness exercise prior to writing about a personally traumatic event would use more emotion and cognitive processing words in their writing samples (i.e., increased distress disclosure), as compared to the participants who simply listened to a neutrally valenced audio clip. Participants were 96 undergraduates from a small Southern university who received course credit for their participation. In comparison to the Control Group, participants in the Mindfulness Group reported greater state mindfulness after the mindfulness exercise. However, the Mindfulness Group experienced a marginally significant decrease in Curiosity while the Control Group experienced a significant increase in Decentering from pre- to post-writing exercise. With regards disclosure, the Mindfulness Group used significantly more Insight words (e.g., think, know, consider) in their writing samples. It is suggested that the use of insight words reflect participants’ desire to better understand their thoughts and feelings surrounding the traumatic experience about which they were writing. However, there were no group differences in the use of positive emotion words, negative emotion words, or causation words. Lastly, three specific facets of trait mindfulness (e.g., describe, act with awareness, and non-judging) were found to be significantly and positively correlated with trait distress disclosure. These results suggest that clients who begin a therapy session by engaging in a mindfulness exercise may be more likely to proceed in a curious and accepting manner, especially when it comes to talking about upsetting personal experiences.
Eitel, Kelsey E., "The Effects of Mindfulness and Distress Disclosure on Emotional Expression" (2014). USC Aiken Psychology Theses. 5.