Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation
Psychological and Brain Sciences
Clinical Psychology, PhD
Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)
verbal expression; transcripts; narratives
Our understanding of psychological constructs through language has increased over the last few decades. However, only a few studies have explored linguistic features associated with worry and mindfulness. This is the first study using linguistics to investigate features of worry models associated with worry and mindfulness concomitantly. The current study reviews literatures regarding worry and mindfulness emotional, physiological, and cognitive features, including language. Next, the current study tested the hypotheses that excessive worry would be negatively correlated with present tense and positively correlated with number of words, number of questions, anxiety related words, and negative emotion words, while mindfulness would be positively correlated with present tense and negatively correlated with number of words, number of questions, anxiety related words, and negative emotion words. Further, the hypotheses that worry writing activity would be higher than neutral writing activity in number of words, number of questions, anxiety related words, and negative emotion words, and that worry writing activity would be lower than the neutral writing activity in present tense were also tested. In order to evaluate these hypotheses, 46 predominantly European American women were recruited from the community to complete self-report questionnaires and worry and neutral writing tasks. Results of the present investigation suggest that word categories related to emotions (i.e., anxiety and negative emotion words) hold associations with worry and mindfulness. Number of words, questions, and present tense did not reveal an association with worry and mindfulness levels in the present sample. Further, compared to a neutral task, worry activity had higher use of present tense, anxiety-related words, and negative emotion words. The findings may reflect avoidance of emotional content in those higher in worry and lower in mindfulness and acceptance of emotional experience by those lower in worry and higher in mindfulness. Future research should continue exploring linguistic features of worry and mindfulness in order to establish the relevant linguistic variables associated with these constructs, and, concomitantly, explore their clinical applications for treatment and assessment.
Bortoleto, Elena Maria Clara Geronimi, "Understanding worry and mindfulness through psycholinguistics." (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 3328.