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Title: An empirical investigation into the relationship between emotional processing and tinnitus distress
Author: McCormack, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 275X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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For many people, living with tinnitus is a highly distressing experience. Theoretical models have identified a number of factors to explain why some individuals experience distress while others do not. However, there is no agreement on the psychological processes involved. This study has introduced emotional processing as an explanatory concept for the experience of persistent tinnitus distress. Emotional processing involves active engagement with and expression of emotions in order to cope successfully with life events. The Emotional Processing Model (EPM) identifies a range of emotional behaviours or emotional processing styles which promote or inhibit emotional processing. The survey study measured emotional processing using the Emotional Processing Scale (EPS-25) with 47 adult participants referred to an NHS Trust’s Audiology Outpatient Clinics for tinnitus assessment. The data collected were analysed to assess the extent of the relationship between specific emotional processing deficits and tinnitus distress and to determine if the age and gender of participants and the duration of their tinnitus were contributory factors to tinnitus distress. The results indicated that individuals who are distressed by their tinnitus process their emotions less effectively than those who are not distressed and that, of the contributory variables examined, poor emotional processing was found to be the single significant explanatory factor for their tinnitus distress. Interviews were subsequently held with a small sample of other people who experienced tinnitus distress to explore their experiences and the relationship between emotional processing and tinnitus distress. The findings supported the results of the survey study. Taken together, the study has contributed to the understanding of tinnitus distress with the introduction of the EPM and the EPS-25 and has generated new knowledge to inform future therapeutic interventions and the research agenda.
Supervisor: Lathlean, Judith ; Prichard, Jane Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available