Term of Award

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeff Klibert

Committee Member 1

K. Bryant Smalley

Committee Member 2

Karen Naufel

Abstract

Explicating vulnerability factors to anxiety difficulties is important as the National Comorbidity Study (NCS) lists anxiety as the most common and costly class of mental health disorders in the United States. Maladaptive schemas, as theorized by Young (1990), perpetuate anxiety pathology by hindering the individual’s ability to alter behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and overall approach to adverse events. Previous research indicates that intrapersonal resources can stymie the development of psychopathological features, even in the context of adverse life events (Floyd, Seltzer, Greenberg, & Song, 2013). The main purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship among adverse life events and anxiety schemas, and potential mediating variables, mindfulness and psychological flexibility. Using a two-wave longitudinal design, data were collected from a sample of 183 college students via an online survey. The average age of the participants was 21.4 year (SD= 2.2). Results suggest adverse life events directly and indirectly related to anxiety schemas. In terms of the indirect pathways, the relationship between adverse life events and anxiety schemas can be partially explained by psychological flexibility-control. In total the results offer beneficial implications in the prevention and treatment of anxiety features. Importantly, using evidenced-based techniques, such as ACT, designed to alter an individual’s relationships with their internal experiences may help to manage anxiety cognitions and promote healthier coping habits.

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