Mindfulness: An Investigation as to the Relationship with Emotional Reactivity
thesisposted on 06.12.2019, 10:23 by Chatwiboon Peijsel
Mindfulness has demonstrated its benefits in being able to enrich human mental health through its negative association with negative emotion and positive with positive emotion. Yet, it is necessary to improve the quality of the measurements employed in studying mindfulness and its relationship with emotion due to the traditional subjective mindfulness scales demonstrating substantial drawbacks. Such drawbacks involve the understanding of Westerners in mindfulness being rooted in Buddhism, an eastern religion. Consequently, the concept held as to mindfulness is diverse and related to the background of the western scale developers. Additionally, respondents differ in their interpretation of items within mindfulness scales due to their background and understanding of mindfulness. Thus, an objective measure of mindfulness and emotion is needed to improve the robustness of such investigation. The main purpose of this thesis is therefore to explore the association between mindfulness and emotional reactivity as assessed via subjective and objective scales. Two surveys undertaken with US and Thai samples have been performed to explore the general association between trait mindfulness, cognitive emotion regulation and emotional states (anxiety and depression). Moreover, three laboratory studies have been conducted in the UK and Thailand to investigate the relationship between mindfulness and emotional reactivity as elicited by affective stimuli (pictures, non-intense video and sound clips and intense video clips). The main findings demonstrate a significant association between mindfulness and emotional reactivity, with this varying upon the dimension of mindfulness and emotional reactivity explored. Here, it has been found that the present self-awareness facet is negatively associated with emotional reactivity induced by non-intense stimuli, but positively associated with emotional reactivity induced by stressful affective stimuli. The decentering facet has been found to have a meaningful negative association with negative emotion but that it enriches positive emotion. Mindful attention awareness has been found to have a negative association with emotional reactivity induced by non-stressful affective stimuli. Moreover, cognitive emotion regulation mediates the association between mindfulness and emotional reactivity. Mind wandering, as might be involved with the maladaptive emotion regulation strategy, has a positive association with negative emotion. Overall, the results contribute to expanding upon the understanding held as to the relationship between mindfulness and emotional reactivity and could imply how these elements can be used to improve mental health.