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Not I, but she: The beneficial effects of self-distancing on challenge/threat cardiovascular responses

Streamer, L and Seery, MD and Kondrak, CL and Lamarche, VM and Saltsman, TL (2017) 'Not I, but she: The beneficial effects of self-distancing on challenge/threat cardiovascular responses.' Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 70. 235 - 241. ISSN 0022-1031

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Abstract

Self-distancing has been shown to lead to benefits in the face of upcoming stressors, but the process by which this occurs remains unclear. We applied the cardiovascular measures of the biopsychosocial model of challenge/threat to test two plausible explanations: whether manipulating self-distancing (vs. a control condition) (1) makes a subsequent active-performance stressor seem less personally relevant, thereby leading to lower task engagement during task performance, and/or (2) promotes more favorable evaluations of personal resources relative to situational demands, resulting in greater challenge during performance. Participants who self-distanced by using non-first-person (vs. first-person) pronouns and their own name while preparing for a speech showed cardiovascular responses consistent with greater challenge while delivering the speech. Self-distancing did not, however, influence cardiovascular responses reflecting task engagement during the speech. Moreover, the effect of self-distancing persisted in the form of relative challenge during a second speech on an unrelated topic. These findings suggest self-distancing can lead to a positively valenced experience during active-performance stressors, rather than simply muted responses based on decreasing the stressor's self-relevance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Self-distancing, Challenge/threat, Task engagement, Cardiovascular reactivity, Stress and coping
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2017 11:45
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2017 12:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20588

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