Mindfulness, disgust, bowel health, social avoidance

Reynolds, L. M., et al. (2014). Does a brief state mindfulness induction moderate disgust-driven social avoidance and decision-making? An experimental investigation. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1-12.

From the Abstract. In this experimental study, we evaluated whether manipulated disgust and mindfulness predicted social avoidance in bowel health contexts. Community participants (n = 101) were randomised to conditions in which disgust and/or state mindfulness were experimentally induced. Tasks assessing social avoidance and perceptions of available social networks in the context of bowel/health problems were conducted.

Manipulation checks confirmed the elicitation of disgust and state mindfulness in the applicable conditions. As expected, persons in the disgust condition were more likely to exhibit immediate social avoidance (rejecting a glass of water). State disgust predicted greater socially avoidant decision-making, less decisional conflict, and smaller social network maps. State mindfulness predicted fewer names on inner network circles and amplified the effect of disgust on creating smaller social network maps.

This report furthers understanding of disgust and avoidance in bowel health contexts, and suggests the need for caution in mindfulness interventions that raise awareness of emotion without also providing skills in emotional regulation.