Anxious People Report Less Emotional Distancing While Imagining Negative Future Events

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cameron Scroggs (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Lisa Emery

Abstract: This study examined the association between future thinking, anxiety, and emotional distancing. The primary goal of this study was to investigate whether psychological distance has the same emotional impact while imagining future events that it does when remembering past events. A second goal was to determine whether individual differences in anxiety might moderate the impact of psychological distancing. I expected anxious individuals to feel more negative when imaging anxiety-provoking negative events than non-anxious individuals (Wu et al., 2015). Secondly, I expected individuals in the immersed condition to have increased negative feelings when describing the event than participants in the distanced condition. Lastly, I expected the difference between high- and low-anxious participants to be larger in the immersed than distanced condition. Upon coming into the lab, participants were randomly assigned to either an immerse (i.e., fully experience feelings of anxiety that may arise while describing the event) or distancing (i.e., adopt a distant-future perspective and reflect on typicality of event) condition and were asked to describe a future event that was at least two weeks away. Highly anxious people reported more immersion while imagining the events. They did not differ in how they felt while describing the event from low-anxious participants.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Scroggs, C. (2019). Anxious People Report Less Emotional Distancing While Imagining Negative Future Events. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
anxiety, future thinking, emotional distancing, rumination, worry

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