Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Social Psychology


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Nancy L. Kocovski

Advisor Role



Mindfulness- and acceptance-based interventions for social anxiety incorporate techniques such as self-compassion and values articulations. Self-compassion has been shown to reduce anticipatory anxiety in students with high social anxiety but the impact of values-affirmation has not yet been explored. Additionally, past research suggests that values-affirmation may foster self-compassion. Three studies were conducted to explore whether values-affirmation, too, reduces anticipatory anxiety (related to an upcoming speech task) and to evaluate whether self-compassion is a mechanism of change. In study one, participants (N = 93) were randomly assigned to a self-compassion manipulation, a values-affirmation condition, or a control condition. After controlling for baseline differences, there were no significant differences across conditions on anticipatory anxiety. Study two (N =121) compared a standard values-affirmation (in the context of a memorable experience) to the modified values-affirmation (in the context of a mistake) used in study one and determined the values-affirmation used was not representative of a typical values-affirmation manipulation. The purpose of study three (N = 209) was to compare a standard values-affirmation manipulation and control group on their levels of anticipatory anxiety related to an upcoming speech task. Participants were preselected for high versus low social anxiety to compare these groups. The results showed that self-affirmation reduced anticipatory anxiety for those with low social anxiety only, and this effect was mediated by state self-compassion. This research further supports the self-compassion account of self-affirmation (Lindsay & Creswell, 2014) and adds to the literature showing that individual vulnerability differences can serve as a significant moderator of self-affirmation effects.

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Convocation Season