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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd
- Distress (in)tolerance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health