Influence of Trait Mindfulness on COVID-19 Anxiety in College Students
Among the battery of physical symptoms and signs that COVID-19 imposes, the pandemic has also sparked an increase in anxiety across the globe. The emotional responses that this death reminder has triggered can be understood through terror management theory (TMT). TMT postulates that anxiety of death drives much of human behavior. Combined with the additional stressors that college students experience, this mortality reminder has the potential to affect students’ mental health considerably. Mindfulness-based therapies have shown significant promise in treating physical and psychological symptoms in multiple studies. Studies also consistently suggest that mindfulness, either as trait or practice, may be inversely related to anxiety through emotion regulation. These studies suggest that trait mindfulness offers a therapeutic benefit towards handling existential anxiety. This investigation explores the influence of trait mindfulness on anxiety caused by COVID-19 among college students. Over the past 30 years, TMT research has repeatedly used a mortality salience (MS) induction in which participants describe what they think would happen to them as they die and after they are dead, including any emotions aroused by the thought of their own death. There is no potential risk to the participants; in the more than 300 published studies that have used MS manipulation, significant deleterious effects for participants have not been found. In this study, participants are asked to “Briefly describe the emotions that the thought of [your own death due to COVID-19 (i.e., MS condition)/watching TV (i.e., control condition)] arouses in you” and to “Jot down, as specifically as you can, what you think will happen to you physically as you [die due to COVID-19 (i.e., MS)/watch TV (i.e., control)] and once you [are physically dead due to COVID-19 (i.e., MS)/have watched TV (i.e., control)]." Participants then complete the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, followed by a delay task, which consists of the Positive and Negative Affective Schedule. Participants will then complete the Coronavirus Anxiety Scale (CAS), Brief Mood Introspection Scale (BMIS), and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE). We predict that participants with higher levels of trait mindfulness will report lower scores on CAS as a result of mortality salience.
Chan, Victoria. (April 2021). Influence of Trait Mindfulness on COVID-19 Anxiety in College Students (Honors Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9165.)
Chan, Victoria. Influence of Trait Mindfulness on COVID-19 Anxiety in College Students. Honors Thesis. East Carolina University, April 2021. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/9165. July 30, 2021.
Chan, Victoria, “Influence of Trait Mindfulness on COVID-19 Anxiety in College Students” (Honors Thesis., East Carolina University, April 2021).
Chan, Victoria. Influence of Trait Mindfulness on COVID-19 Anxiety in College Students [Honors Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; April 2021.
East Carolina University