The Impact of Mindfulness on Emotion Dysregulation and Psychophysiological Reactivity under Emotional Provocation
Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The present study employed physiological measures and a working memory task in addition to self-report measures to seek a better understanding of the relationship between brief mindfulness training and the experience and regulation of emotion. Seventy undergraduate students at a small southern state university completed baseline measures of trait mindfulness and emotion regulation before experiencing a 15-minute recording (mindfulness or control), and then completing a state mindfulness measure. Participants then experienced an emotion induction (positive or negative), before completing state emotion dysregulation and affect measures, and then completing a working memory task, finishing with the state mindfulness measure again. Physiological measures were recorded throughout the experimental session. Results indicated that the mindfulness induction was sufficient to increase mindfulness, demonstrated by greater self-report of state mindfulness, greater L > R frontal brain asymmetry, and greater heart rate variability at the completion of the intervention as compared to the Control group. Further, participants receiving the mindfulness induction experienced greater emotional awareness, indicated by reporting greater positive affect regardless of induction and greater negative affect when experiencing a negative induction. Experiencing a negative emotion induction after mindfulness training also resulted in feeling more overwhelmed and unable to improve their emotional state, suggesting the mindfulness induction was successful in reducing emotional avoidance, but failed to improve emotion regulation capacity sufficiently to withstand the demands of an aversive emotional experience. These results have significant clinical implications since it appears that individuals may feel more dysregulated while initially experiencing increased mindfulness.
Watford, Tanya S., "The Impact of Mindfulness on Emotion Dysregulation and Psychophysiological Reactivity under Emotional Provocation" (2014). USC Aiken Psychology Theses. 6.