• Compassion motivations: Distinguishing submissive compassion from genuine compassion and its association with shame, submissive behavior, depression, anxiety and stress

      Catarino, Francisca; Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Baião, Rita; Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust; University of Coimbra; University of Derby; University of Cardiff (Guildford Press, 2014-05)
      Abstract Recent research has suggested that being compassionate and helpful to others is linked to well-being. However, people can pursue compassionate motives for different reasons, one of which may be to be liked or valued. Evolutionary theory suggests this form of helping may be related to submissive appeasing behavior and therefore could be negatively associated with well-being. To explore this possibility we developed a new scale called the submissive compassion scale and compared it to other established submissive and shame-based scales, along with measures of depression, anxiety and stress in a group of 192 students. As predicted, a submissive form of compassion (being caring in order to be liked) was associated with submissive behavior, shame-based caring, ego-goals and depression, anxiety, and stress. In contrast, compassionate goals and compassion for others were not. As research on compassion develops, new ways of understanding the complex and mixed motivations that can lie behind compassion are required. The desire to be helpful, kind, and compassionate, when it arises from fears of rejection and desires for acceptance, needs to be explored.
    • The dark side of competition: How competitive behaviour and striving to avoid inferiority are linked to depression, anxiety, stress and self-harm.

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Bellew, Rebecca; Mills, Alison; Gale, Corinne; University of Derby (British Psychological Society, 2009-06)
      This study was guided by the social rank theory of depression and aimed to explore the relationship between depression, anxiety, stress and self‐harm with striving to avoid inferiority, feelings of shame and styles of attachment. Participants diagnosed with depression (n=62) completed a series of questionnaires measuring striving to avoid inferiority, fears of missing out, being overlooked and active rejection, attachment, social rank and psychopathologies. Striving to avoid inferiority was significantly linked to social rank variables and anxious attachment. Mediator analyses revealed that the relationship between striving to avoid inferiority and depression was mediated by the social rank variable of external shame, and also anxious attachment. These findings suggest that elevated competitive behaviour can have a ‘dark side’. When people feel insecure in their social environments, it can focus them on a hierarchical view of themselves and others, with a fear of rejection if they feel they have become too inferior or subordinate. This may increase vulnerability to depression, anxiety and stress.
    • Examining the effects of rational emotive behavior therapy on performance outcomes in elite paralympic athletes

      Wood, Andrew G.; Barker, Jamie B.; Turner, Martin J.; Sheffield, David; Staffordshire University; University of Derby; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences and Education; Staffordshire University; Stoke-on-Trent UK; Life Sciences; University of Derby; Derby UK (2017-06-05)
      Traditionally a psychotherapeutic intervention, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is receiving increasing attention within the extant literature as an intervention to enhance the athletic performance and psychological well-being of competitive athletes. Whilst the benefits of REBT on psychological health are established, less is understood about the effects on athletic performance. This study aimed to examine the immediate and maintained effects of REBT on physiological, psychological, and performance outcomes with elite Paralympic athletes. Using a single-case research design, eight athletes recruited from the same Paralympic sport (M=40.12, SD=12.99) received five, one-to-one REBT sessions. Measures of irrational beliefs were collected weekly, whereas the remaining psychological and physiological measures were collected at a pre-, post-, and at a 9-month follow-up time point. Visual and statistical analyzes of the data indicates reductions in irrational beliefs were coupled with reductions in systolic blood pressure indicative of an adaptive physiological response, improved athletic performance during competition simulations, and reductions in avoidance goals. Furthermore, social validation data indicated greater self-awareness, emotional control, and enhanced focus during competition as a result of the REBT intervention. This study contributes to growing literature supporting the efficacy of REBT as an intervention that not only facilitates psychological health but also enhances athletic performance. Results are discussed with reference to theory, limitations, and future recommendations.
    • An exploration of formal and informal mindfulness practice and associations with wellbeing.

      Birtwell, Kelly; Williams, Kate; van Marwijk, Harm; Armitage, Christopher J.; Sheffield, David; University of Derby; University of Manchester; NIHR School for Primary Care Research Manchester England; Brighton and Sussex Medical School University of Brighton; NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (Springer., 2018-05-21)
      Mindfulness has transdiagnostic applicability, but little is known about how people first begin to practice mindfulness and what sustains practice in the long term. The aim of the present research was to explore the experiences of a large sample of people practicing mindfulness, including difficulties with practice and associations between formal and informal mindfulness practice and wellbeing. In this cross-sectional study, 218 participants who were practicing mindfulness or had practiced in the past completed an online survey about how they first began to practice mindfulness, difficulties and supportive factors for continuing to practice, current wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. Participants had practiced mindfulness from under a year up to 43 years. There was no significant difference in the frequency of formal mindfulness practice between those who had attended a face-to-face taught course and those who had not. Common difficulties included finding time to practice formally and falling asleep during formal practice. Content analysis revealed “practical resources,” “time/routine,” “support from others,” and “attitudes and beliefs,” which were supportive factors for maintaining mindfulness practice. Informal mindfulness practice was related to positive wellbeing and psychological flexibility. Frequency (but not duration) of formal mindfulness practice was associated with positive wellbeing; however, neither frequency nor duration of formal mindfulness practice was significantly associated with psychological flexibility. Mindfulness teachers will be able to use the present findings to further support their students by reminding them of the benefits as well as normalising some of the challenges of mindfulness practice including falling asleep.
    • Fears of compassion in a depressed population: Implication for psychotherapy

      Gilbert, Paul; McEwan, Kirsten; Catarino, Francisca; Baião, Rita; University of Derby (OMICS International, 2014-05-13)
      Background: While psychological therapies for depression have advanced in the last 20 years, still many people respond only partially and remain vulnerable to relapse. Insight into the limitations of our psychological therapies might be obtained from recent research that has revealed, in nonclinical populations, that some people can be fearful of positive emotions especially affiliative and compassion-focused ones. Aims: This study explores the fears of compassion in a clinical population and their associations with selfcriticism, self-compassion and depression, anxiety and stress. Method: 53 depressed patients completed a series of self-report scales. Results: Fears of compassion, particularly for oneself and from others, were strongly linked to self-criticism, depression, anxiety and stress, and negatively associated with self-compassion and self-reassurance. Conclusions: Since compassion and the affiliative emotions associated with compassion play a fundamental role in emotion regulation, individuals who are blocked or fearful of accessing these emotions are likely to be struggle with emotional regulation and the psychotherapeutic process. Research on the fears of compassion and affiliative emotions suggests these are important therapeutic targets.
    • The integration of the workable range model into a mindfulness-based stress reduction course: a practice-based case study

      Rose, Sally A.; Sheffield, David; Harling, Martyn; University of Leeds; University of Derby; University of Nottingham (Springer, 2017-08-29)
      Didactic teaching about stress is part of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) curriculum. The content and methods of integrating conceptual teaching within the experiential pedagogy are rarely explored. Workable range is a model of stress and emotion regulation that illustrates patterns of physical, emotional and cognitive reactivity in relation to mindful presence. This is a qualitative case study of the inclusion of the workable range model into an MBSR course as a refinement of the didactic teaching about stress. The focus is to illuminate how the inclusion worked in practice. Ten staff, on a MBSR course in a higher educational setting, were recruited as participant researchers with an overlap between their own first-person investigation during the course and the research data. Adapted diagrams and written answers to two question schedules, completed as reflective exercises within the course, were analysed thematically using template analysis. This revealed how participant researchers engaged with and intuitively used the model to notice and describe their own patterns of feeling balanced or stressed and explore how they related to those experiences. How learning the model integrated with MBSR and the applicability of workable ranges as a teaching resource in MBSR is discussed. The study highlights questions about how conceptual and experiential teaching and learning interrelate in mindfulness-based interventions. There is scope for further research using mindfulness practice as a first-person methodology to investigate the processes within mindfulness-based programs.
    • Performance under stress: an eye-tracking investigation of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT).

      Simonovic, Boban; Stupple, Edward J. N.; Gale, Maggie; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Frontiers Media, 2018-09-28)
      Stress pervades everyday life and impedes risky decision making. The following experiment is the first to examine effects of stress on risky decision making in the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), while measuring inspection time and conscious awareness of deck contingencies. This was original as it allowed a fine grained rigorous analysis of the way that stress impedes awareness of, and attention to maladaptive financial choices. The extended Cognitive Reflection Task (CRT) further afforded examination of the impact of impaired reflective thinking on risky decision making. Stressed participants were slower to avoid the disadvantageous decks and performed worse overall. They inspected disadvantageous decks for longer than the control condition and were slower in developing awareness of their poor deck quality compared to the control condition. Conversely, in the control condition greater inspection times for advantageous decks were observed earlier in the task, and better awareness of the deck contingencies was shown as early as the second block of trials than the stress condition. Path analysis suggested that stress reduced IGT performance by impeding reflective thinking and conscious awareness. Explicit cognitive processes, moreover, were important during the preliminary phase of IGT performance—a finding that has significant implications for the use of the IGT as a clinical diagnostic tool. It was concluded that stress impedes reflective thinking, attentional disengagement from poorer decks, and the development of conscious knowledge about choice quality that interferes with performance on the IGT. These data demonstrate that stress impairs risky decision making performance, by impeding attention to, and awareness of task characteristics in risky decision making.
    • Stress and risky decision making: Cognitive reflection, emotional learning or both.

      Simonovic, Boban; Stupple, Edward J. N.; Gale, Maggie; Sheffield, David; University of Derby (Wiley, 2016-08-19)
      Stressful situations hinder judgment. Effects of stress induced by anticipated public speaking on the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) were examined. The Cognitive Reflection Task (CRT) was used to examine the relationship between reflective thinking and IGT performance. The stress manipulation increased blood pressure and was associated with poorer IGT and CRT performance. Stressed participants were slower to avoid the disadvantageous decks. Moreover, CRT scores correlated with optimal deck selections indicating the importance of reflective thinking for good performance on the IGT. These correlations were observed in relatively early trials, which challenges the view that analytic thinking is not important when card contingencies are being learned. Data revealed that IGT performance in healthy individuals is not always optimal; stress levels impair performance. A mediation analysis was consistent with the proposal that the stress manipulation reduced IGT performance by impeding reflective thinking. Thus reflective processing is an important explanation of IGT performance in healthy populations. It was concluded that more reflective participants appear to learn from the outcomes of their decisions even when stressed.