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Mindfulness and virtual environments - the impact of mediated nature on anxiety, affect, worry and levels of mindfulness

Mindfulness and virtual environments - the impact of mediated nature on anxiety, affect, worry and levels of mindfulness
Mindfulness and virtual environments - the impact of mediated nature on anxiety, affect, worry and levels of mindfulness
The first chapter of this thesis is a review of the literature exploring empirical evidence of mindfulness applied within natural settings, to address the question of what are the beneficial effects of employing such an approach. This included experimental studies, investigating the impact of applying mindfulness based interventions to and within nature. The overall pattern of results provides some support that the integration of mindfulness and natural stimuli has a larger beneficial effect than that of mindfulness or nature alone. However, the discussion explores a number of methodological limitations and suggests that there is a need for more stringent experimental research in this area. Future research should ensure there are control groups as part of the experimental design, balanced samples and link findings to theory.

Chapter 2 of this thesis is an empirical paper investigating the impact of mindfulness applied within a context of virtual reality environments to explore effects on mood, anxiety and levels of mindfulness. 61 participants were randomised into one of three groups; mindfulness of nature, mindfulness of neutral, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and nature. Participants completed a short practice at baseline in the lab and continued with home practice using virtual reality environments of nature or urban scenes for a total of 5 sessions. Participants in the mindfulness conditions completed a mindfulness practice in the lab followed by instructions to watch the videos mindfully during home practice, participants in the PMR condition completed a PMR exercise in the lab and were given no specific instructions prior to viewing the video during home practice. On average, from baseline to post-intervention, all participants demonstrated significant improvement on outcomes of anxiety, mood, mind wandering, worry and state mindfulness regardless of which group they were in. Participants also demonstrated a decline in positive affect over time with no changes to trait levels of mindfulness. The overall pattern suggests there was no significant effect of group. There was partial support that the mindfulness of nature intervention increased mindful acceptance more than PMR and nature condition. The discussion makes links to theory and previous research. Methodological limitations are considered including how the mindfulness was delivered and the use of low-tech virtual reality viewers. Future research should employ these methodological recommendations, include complete transparency of protocols and explore brief interventions of integrating mindfulness and nature in controlled experiments.
University of Southampton
Araci, David
882a74a8-941c-43f7-af87-ca423a622ad7
Araci, David
882a74a8-941c-43f7-af87-ca423a622ad7
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072

Araci, David (2018) Mindfulness and virtual environments - the impact of mediated nature on anxiety, affect, worry and levels of mindfulness. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 138pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The first chapter of this thesis is a review of the literature exploring empirical evidence of mindfulness applied within natural settings, to address the question of what are the beneficial effects of employing such an approach. This included experimental studies, investigating the impact of applying mindfulness based interventions to and within nature. The overall pattern of results provides some support that the integration of mindfulness and natural stimuli has a larger beneficial effect than that of mindfulness or nature alone. However, the discussion explores a number of methodological limitations and suggests that there is a need for more stringent experimental research in this area. Future research should ensure there are control groups as part of the experimental design, balanced samples and link findings to theory.

Chapter 2 of this thesis is an empirical paper investigating the impact of mindfulness applied within a context of virtual reality environments to explore effects on mood, anxiety and levels of mindfulness. 61 participants were randomised into one of three groups; mindfulness of nature, mindfulness of neutral, progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and nature. Participants completed a short practice at baseline in the lab and continued with home practice using virtual reality environments of nature or urban scenes for a total of 5 sessions. Participants in the mindfulness conditions completed a mindfulness practice in the lab followed by instructions to watch the videos mindfully during home practice, participants in the PMR condition completed a PMR exercise in the lab and were given no specific instructions prior to viewing the video during home practice. On average, from baseline to post-intervention, all participants demonstrated significant improvement on outcomes of anxiety, mood, mind wandering, worry and state mindfulness regardless of which group they were in. Participants also demonstrated a decline in positive affect over time with no changes to trait levels of mindfulness. The overall pattern suggests there was no significant effect of group. There was partial support that the mindfulness of nature intervention increased mindful acceptance more than PMR and nature condition. The discussion makes links to theory and previous research. Methodological limitations are considered including how the mindfulness was delivered and the use of low-tech virtual reality viewers. Future research should employ these methodological recommendations, include complete transparency of protocols and explore brief interventions of integrating mindfulness and nature in controlled experiments.

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Mindfulness and virtual environments - the impact of mediated nature on anxiety, affect, worry and levels of mindfulness - Version of Record
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Published date: May 2018

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Local EPrints ID: 425916
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425916
PURE UUID: 3ba72bc5-73f7-4c03-8f99-4c79e2fd6ba9

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Date deposited: 06 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 17:53

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