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Evaluating psychological interventions in a novel experimental human model of anxiety

Evaluating psychological interventions in a novel experimental human model of anxiety
Evaluating psychological interventions in a novel experimental human model of anxiety
Inhalation of 7.5% carbon dioxide (CO2) increases anxiety and autonomic arousal and provides a novel experimental model of anxiety with which to evaluate pharmacological and psychological treatments for anxiety. To date several psychotropic drugs have been evaluated using the 7.5% CO2 model, including benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs); however, it has yet to be used to evaluate psychological interventions. We compared the effects of two core psychological components of mindfulness-meditation (open monitoring, OM and focused attention, FA) against general relaxation, on subjective, autonomic and neuropsychological outcomes in the 7.5% CO2 experimental model.

32 healthy screened adults were randomized to complete 10 minutes of guided open monitoring, focused attention or relaxation, immediately before inhaling 7.5% CO2 for 20 minutes. During CO2-challenge participants completed an eye-tracking measure of attention control and selective attention. Measures of subjective anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate were taken at baseline and immediately following intervention and CO2-challenge.

OM and FA practice reduced subjective feelings of anxiety during 20-minute inhalation of 7.5% CO2 compared to relaxation control. OM practice produced a strong anxiolytic effect, whereas the effect of FA was more modest. Anxiolytic OM and FA effects occurred in the absence of group differences in autonomic arousal and eye-movement measures of attention.

Our findings are consistent with neuropsychological models of mindfulness-meditation that propose OM and FA activate prefrontal mechanisms that support emotion regulation during periods of anxiety and physiological hyper-arousal. Our findings complement those from pharmacological treatment studies, further supporting the use of CO2 challenge to evaluate future therapeutic interventions for anxiety.
0022-3956
117-122
Ainsworth, B.
b02d78c3-aa8b-462d-a534-31f1bf164f81
Marshall, J.E.
52b48c6a-e730-443e-8834-cd2a15912495
Meron, D.
65e463bd-1283-445f-ac48-dbde36e85415
Baldwin, D.S
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e
Chadwick, P.
9eacd684-72f2-405a-a026-d3c72ef11c29
Munafo, M.R.
9f08cda8-d2ed-4e48-b7f8-7f29fa33efc9
Garner, M.
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072
Ainsworth, B.
b02d78c3-aa8b-462d-a534-31f1bf164f81
Marshall, J.E.
52b48c6a-e730-443e-8834-cd2a15912495
Meron, D.
65e463bd-1283-445f-ac48-dbde36e85415
Baldwin, D.S
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e
Chadwick, P.
9eacd684-72f2-405a-a026-d3c72ef11c29
Munafo, M.R.
9f08cda8-d2ed-4e48-b7f8-7f29fa33efc9
Garner, M.
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072

Ainsworth, B., Marshall, J.E., Meron, D., Baldwin, D.S, Chadwick, P., Munafo, M.R. and Garner, M. (2015) Evaluating psychological interventions in a novel experimental human model of anxiety. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 63, 117-122. (doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.02.001). (PMID:25765144)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Inhalation of 7.5% carbon dioxide (CO2) increases anxiety and autonomic arousal and provides a novel experimental model of anxiety with which to evaluate pharmacological and psychological treatments for anxiety. To date several psychotropic drugs have been evaluated using the 7.5% CO2 model, including benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs); however, it has yet to be used to evaluate psychological interventions. We compared the effects of two core psychological components of mindfulness-meditation (open monitoring, OM and focused attention, FA) against general relaxation, on subjective, autonomic and neuropsychological outcomes in the 7.5% CO2 experimental model.

32 healthy screened adults were randomized to complete 10 minutes of guided open monitoring, focused attention or relaxation, immediately before inhaling 7.5% CO2 for 20 minutes. During CO2-challenge participants completed an eye-tracking measure of attention control and selective attention. Measures of subjective anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate were taken at baseline and immediately following intervention and CO2-challenge.

OM and FA practice reduced subjective feelings of anxiety during 20-minute inhalation of 7.5% CO2 compared to relaxation control. OM practice produced a strong anxiolytic effect, whereas the effect of FA was more modest. Anxiolytic OM and FA effects occurred in the absence of group differences in autonomic arousal and eye-movement measures of attention.

Our findings are consistent with neuropsychological models of mindfulness-meditation that propose OM and FA activate prefrontal mechanisms that support emotion regulation during periods of anxiety and physiological hyper-arousal. Our findings complement those from pharmacological treatment studies, further supporting the use of CO2 challenge to evaluate future therapeutic interventions for anxiety.

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Accepted/In Press date: 2 February 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 February 2015
Published date: April 2015
Organisations: Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Neuroscience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 374061
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374061
ISSN: 0022-3956
PURE UUID: 65356b34-6319-490e-93a1-43e920347bfa
ORCID for B. Ainsworth: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5098-1092

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Date deposited: 04 Feb 2015 16:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 00:48

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