Brief mindfulness training de-couples the anxiogenic effects of distress intolerance on reactivity to and recovery from stress among deprived smokers

Rotem Paz, Ariel Zvielli, Pavel Goldstein, Amit Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective We tested whether mindfulness de-couples the expected anxiogenic effects of distress intolerance on psychological and physiological reactivity to and recovery from an anxiogenic stressor among participants experimentally sensitized to experience distress. Method N = 104 daily smokers underwent 18-hours of biochemically-verified smoking deprivation. Participants were then randomized to a 7-min analogue mindfulness intervention (present moment attention and awareness training; PMAA) or a cope-as-usual control condition; and subsequently exposed to a 2.5-min paced over breathing (hyperventilation) stressor designed to elicit acute anxious arousal. Psychological and physiological indices of anxious arousal (Skin Conductance Levels; SCL) as well as emotion (dys)regulation (Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia; RSA) were measured before, during and following the stressor. Results We found that PMAA reduced psycho-physiological dysregulation in response to an anxiogenic stressor, as well as moderated the anxiogenic effect of distress intolerance on psychological but not physiological responding to the stressor among smokers pre-disposed to experience distress via deprivation. Conclusions The present study findings have a number of theoretical and clinical implications for work on mindfulness mechanisms, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and smoking cessation interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume95
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr. Bernstein recognizes the funding support from the Israeli Council for Higher Education Yigal Alon Fellowship, the European Union FP-7 Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant, Psychology Beyond Borders Mission Award, Israel Science Foundation, and the Caesarea-Rothschild Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Distress (in)tolerance
  • ECG
  • GSR
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychophysiology
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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