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Subjective and Cardiac Response to a Social Evaluative Threat Task: Effects of Self-compassion Reappraisal, Gender, and Emotional Awareness

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Title: Subjective and Cardiac Response to a Social Evaluative Threat Task: Effects of Self-compassion Reappraisal, Gender, and Emotional Awareness
Author: Paret, Laura
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Bailey, Heidi
Abstract: This dissertation sought to explore the utility of a self-compassion reappraisal strategy in a social evaluative task in light of a growing literature that links self-compassion with decreased anxiety and self-criticism and increased capacity for self-soothing. Participants’ subjective experience of anxiety and cardiac reactivity was assessed throughout the task. Individual differences in emotional awareness (attention to and clarity of emotions) were also assessed given hypotheses that higher emotional awareness would facilitate participants’ benefit from the self-compassion cognitive reappraisal instructions. Participants randomly assigned to the reappraisal group received instructions on how to cultivate self-compassion towards their experience whereas the control group received no emotion regulation instructions. Participants gave a spontaneous 3-minute speech on their personality strengths and weaknesses and were told that a panel of trained observers would provide feedback on their performance. Hypotheses were partially supported. Women showed attenuated anxiety when given the self-compassion reappraisal instructions, but only when they were high in emotional clarity. Men showed adaptive cardiac reactivity prior to the speech when high in emotional clarity, independent of group assignment. Finally, prior to receiving feedback, the results were two-fold: participants who were high in attention to their emotions and in the self-compassion reappraisal group, or low in attention to emotions and in the control group, showed the most adaptive cardiac responding. The notion that high emotional awareness is a precondition for adaptive emotion regulation is explored alongside divergent findings (i.e., low emotional awareness is protective in the absence of emotion regulation instructions). Overarching theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8459
Date: 2014
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada


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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada