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Affective Reactivity Mediates an Inverse Relation Between Mindfulness and Anxiety

Abstract

Little is known about the mechanisms through which mindfulness is related to psychological symptoms such as anxiety. One potential mechanism consists of individual differences in emotion-responding variables such as reactivity to aversive stimuli. The current research was designed to examine whether affective reactivity may act as a mechanism of mindfulness. Across two studies, an inverse relation between trait mindfulness (specifically, the Nonjudging of Inner Experience and Acting with Awareness factors of the Five-Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire) and chronic anxiety was partially mediated by affective reactivity, assessed with direct (self-report in study 1) and indirect (lexical decision task in study 2) measures. These results contribute to the understanding of the psychological mechanisms through which mindfulness works.

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Correspondence to Brian D. Ostafin.

Appendices

Appendix A

IAPS slides used in affect induction task.

Negative slides: 2800, 3150, 3170, 3230, 3350, 9040, 9300, 9405, 9561, 9594

Neutral slides: 2191, 2214, 2374, 5395, 7000, 7043, 7052, 7053, 7207, 7249

Appendix B

Stimuli used in the lexical decision task

Negative words: distressed, scared, upset, guilty, hostile, irritable, ashamed, nervous, jittery, afraid

Neutral words: bowl, chair, contents, door, errand, glacier, seat, theory, time, window

Nonwords: conclide, bos, fethom, fragmunt, luquid, meisure, parkying, tiste, wuekly, zune, tasp, botter, datest, flibby, hestage, lohe, pilmow, sikkness, triphy, violeat

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Ostafin, B.D., Brooks, J.J. & Laitem, M. Affective Reactivity Mediates an Inverse Relation Between Mindfulness and Anxiety. Mindfulness 5, 520–528 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0206-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-013-0206-x

Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Anxiety
  • Emotion regulation
  • Self-regulation