Autonomic and emotion regulation in bereavement: A longitudinal study
AdvisorKaszniak, Alfred W.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRecent investigations have shown little evidence of differential improvement of written disclosure for bereaved individuals over a control condition. The present study hypothesized that a moderator may interact with disclosure. Vagal tone, as indexed by respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA), was proposed to moderate the effect of written disclosure. Vagal tone has been shown as an individual difference in self-regulation in the infant literature, and more recently in adults with depression, anxiety, and daily stressors. The present study investigated thirty-five bereaved participants in a longitudinal design, with participants writing each week for three weeks, a one-week and one-month follow-up. As with previous studies, bereaved participants showed improvement over the two-month period, although no differential improvement was seen in the emotional disclosure group. As hypothesized, however, those participants with the highest RSA benefited most from the written disclosure, while RSA level did not predict outcome for those in the control condition. Future research should investigate if this moderator effect may be present in written disclosure for non-bereaved individuals.
Degree ProgramGraduate College