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.
AbstractMetaphors are colloquial components of everyday language that can help us understand abstract concepts more concretely. While there is extensive work evidencing the psychological impact of metaphor use on physical health, little has been done to explore the effect of metaphor use has on mental health. We hypothesize that, within the domain of anxiety, metaphoric framing matters for mental health. Participants were randomly assigned to create self-relevant metaphors describing their anxiety as either a challenge, an enemy, or to simply describe how they cope with their anxiety. We found that participants who framed their anxiety as a challenge had lower state-level anxiety as compared to those in the other two groups. Our findings indicate that, when compared at the group level, those who framed their anxiety as a challenge had the lowest trait-level anxiety scores post-intervention. Our findings also indicate that participants with higher trait-level anxiety use more metaphors when writing about their anxiety as compared with participants lower in trait-level anxiety.