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Prophylactic effects of mindfulness: the role of mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety

Prophylactic effects of mindfulness: the role of mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety
Prophylactic effects of mindfulness: the role of mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety
Mindfulness derives from meditative traditions and is a form of mental training that is increasingly incorporated into Western treatment approaches for common mental health problems. This thesis addresses the prophylactic effects of mindfulness practice and the implications for the treatment of anxiety. The first paper considers the role of attention as a predominant mechanism of mindfulness. The paper reviews the evidence for the effects of mindfulness on attentional subsets and suggests that mindfulness may in part exert its benefits by ameliorating maladaptive attentional processes that have been implicated in the aetiology of anxiety. The empirical paper reports the results of a randomised controlled trial that directly compared the prophylactic and differential effects of two mindfulness practices on pharmacologically-induced state anxiety and negative affect through inhalation of 7.5% carbon dioxide (CO2). 60 participants engaged in 10 minutes of focused mindfulness, open mindfulness or relaxation prior to a 20-minute inhalation of 7.5% CO2 or air. Consistent with the evidence-base, this study found that mindfulness reduced self-reported state anxiety and negative affect significantly more so than a period of relaxation. In the context of non-significant reductions in autonomic measures of arousal, these findings support that mindfulness exerts its benefits through specific rather than non-specific effects. The results are consistent with contemporary conceptualisations of mindfulness mechanisms that highlight the key role of attention and suggest that clinical effects are exerted through top-down control mechanisms that support emotion regulation.
Marshall, Jemma E.
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Marshall, Jemma E.
cd273967-9b60-4cce-b2c6-7e4c483f4865
Garner, Matthew
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(2012) Prophylactic effects of mindfulness: the role of mindfulness in the treatment of anxiety. University of Southampton, Psychology, Doctoral Thesis, 195pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Mindfulness derives from meditative traditions and is a form of mental training that is increasingly incorporated into Western treatment approaches for common mental health problems. This thesis addresses the prophylactic effects of mindfulness practice and the implications for the treatment of anxiety. The first paper considers the role of attention as a predominant mechanism of mindfulness. The paper reviews the evidence for the effects of mindfulness on attentional subsets and suggests that mindfulness may in part exert its benefits by ameliorating maladaptive attentional processes that have been implicated in the aetiology of anxiety. The empirical paper reports the results of a randomised controlled trial that directly compared the prophylactic and differential effects of two mindfulness practices on pharmacologically-induced state anxiety and negative affect through inhalation of 7.5% carbon dioxide (CO2). 60 participants engaged in 10 minutes of focused mindfulness, open mindfulness or relaxation prior to a 20-minute inhalation of 7.5% CO2 or air. Consistent with the evidence-base, this study found that mindfulness reduced self-reported state anxiety and negative affect significantly more so than a period of relaxation. In the context of non-significant reductions in autonomic measures of arousal, these findings support that mindfulness exerts its benefits through specific rather than non-specific effects. The results are consistent with contemporary conceptualisations of mindfulness mechanisms that highlight the key role of attention and suggest that clinical effects are exerted through top-down control mechanisms that support emotion regulation.

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Published date: May 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Psychology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 347118
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/347118
PURE UUID: 2a4ff924-b635-4532-aa4b-5ef59f17ea0d

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Mar 2013 12:37
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:59

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Contributors

Author: Jemma E. Marshall
Thesis advisor: Matthew Garner

University divisions

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