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The Role of Psychological Flexibility within the Detection and Regulation of Emotion

Gaukroger, Charlotte Emma Dorothy (2018) The Role of Psychological Flexibility within the Detection and Regulation of Emotion. D.Clin.Psychol thesis, University of Leeds.

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Introduction: A central assumption in the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) model is that greater psychological flexibility (PF) requires the ability to notice (interoception) and appraise emotion. However, interoceptive accuracy (IA), defined as the convergence between subjective (reported) and objective (measured) bodily states, has not yet been objectively assessed alongside PF. The aims of this thesis were to explore the relationship between PF and the detection and regulation of emotion in a non-clinical sample, in order to test the theoretical basis of ACT. Method: Interoception was assessed using a heartbeat detection task, where participants are asked to count their own perceived heartbeats in a given timeframe over six intervals. This is compared against an objective (recorded) number of heartbeats to give an IA score. Participants also rated their subjective confidence in each interval on a visual analogue scale, which was calculated against IA to ascertain Interoceptive State Prediction Error. PF was assessed by the Acceptance and Action Questionnaire II. Alexithymia (difficulty identifying and describing emotion), mood and emotion regulation was also measured using questionnaires. Interoceptive sensibility (an individual’s subjective perception of their interoceptive abilities) was assessed using body awareness and dissociation subscales of the Scale of Bodily Connection Questionnaire. Results & Discussion: There was no significant positive correlation found between PF and interoceptive accuracy, and methodological limitations and possible explanations for this are discussed. Replicating previous findings, PF was significantly negatively correlated with alexithymia, meaning that one’s subjective ability to identify and describe emotion improves alongside PF. PF was negatively associated with body dissociation but was not correlated with body awareness. Significant relationships were revealed between PF and both emotion regulation strategies in the predicted direction. Further research is also recommended following ACT treatment to investigate the nature of any relationship between PF and bodily emotion.

Item Type: Thesis (D.Clin.Psychol)
Keywords: ACT, acceptance and commitment therapy, psychological flexibility, interoception, emotion, emotion regulation
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Health Sciences (Leeds) > Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences (Leeds)
Depositing User: Miss Charlotte Gaukroger
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2019 10:35
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 10:35
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22839

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