The Impact of Brief Mindfulness Training on Postevent Processing Among Individuals With Clinically Elevated Social Anxiety

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Postevent processing (PEP), the engagement in detailed and repetitive self-focused review of one's performance in social situations, is theorized to maintain pathological social anxiety. However, little is known about interventions that may impact this maintenance factor. The current study examined the impact of brief mindfulness training (BMT) on PEP among socially anxious individuals. There were 77 participants (75.32% female, 63.64% non-Hispanic/Latinx White) with clinically elevated social anxiety who attended one appointment in the laboratory during which they were randomized to receive a brief mindfulness-based training (n = 37) or no training (i.e., thinking as usual control group; n = 40). After the training period, participants underwent a 3-minute social anxiety induction task, after which they were instructed to apply their thinking strategy. Participants were then asked to complete 2 weeks of daily online surveys that included a PEP induction task, instructions to use their thinking strategy following PEP induction, and a measure of state PEP. Individuals in the BMT condition reported a significant reduction in state anxiety posttraining compared to individuals in the control condition. Conditions did not differ on state PEP after the social anxiety induction task. However, compared to those in the control condition, participants in the BMT condition reported significantly greater decreases in state PEP over the 14-day follow-up period. Thus, this brief mindfulness-based strategy may be useful for individuals with clinically elevated social anxiety who engage in PEP, a cognitive vulnerability factor implicated in the maintenance of social anxiety.

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Behavior therapy

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