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The Relationship Between Emotion-Related Thoughts and Emotional Recovery from Stress

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abstract
Duration of negative emotions can have important consequences that influence an individual's physical and psychological well-being. Researchers in the last decade have observed an association between negative affect and mind-wandering. Additionally, research has shown that enduring appraisals of a negative emotional stimulus and its meaning, or emotion-related thoughts, can prolong the duration of negative emotions. In this paper, we present four studies investigating the relationships between duration of negative affect, mind-wandering, and emotion-related thoughts following stress. We hypothesized that emotion-related thoughts mediate the relationship between mind-wandering and negative affect. In order to induce stress, we led some participants to believe that they were unsuccessful at an anagram-solving task. Other participants were not led to believe that they failed. Following induction of negative affect, participants completed the Sustained Attention to Response Task with a modified version of the Thought Probe to measure emotion-related thoughts. Studies 1 and 2 were primarily intended to test and improve our methodology. Contrary to expectations, results of Study 3 indicated that emotion-related thoughts suppress the relationship between mind-wandering and negative affect, and controlling for emotion-related thoughts increases the strength of the relationship between mind-wandering and negative affect. Previous research has also shown that when people are uncertain about the meaning of a negative emotional stimulus, they continue to make appraisals about it. Therefore, in Study 4 we attempted to manipulate endurance of emotion-related thoughts by telling some participants that they had performed in the 50th percentile on the anagram task, while other participants were not told their scores. We were unable to replicate the results of Study 3. However, we did find an association between frequency of emotion-related thoughts and negative affective recovery following the SART. These findings suggest that emotion-related thoughts are an important factor in recovery from a stressful stimulus.
subject
affect
cognition
emotions
mind-wandering
recovery
stress
contributor
Avery, Bradley Mark (author)
Waugh, Christian E. (committee chair)
Blumenthal, Terry D (committee member)
Brenes, Gretchen A (committee member)
Schirillo, James A (committee member)
date
2014-07-10T08:35:40Z (accessioned)
2014 (issued)
degree
Psychology (discipline)
10000-01-01 (liftdate)
embargo
forever (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/39318 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
The Relationship Between Emotion-Related Thoughts and Emotional Recovery from Stress
type
Thesis

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