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Title: Colouring-in - a distraction technique? : a study looking at the effects of colouring-in for adults in reducing negative affect and state rumination
Author: Drew, Neil
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 3431
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2018
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Background Adult colouring books have become increasingly popular in recent years, with suggestions that they can reduce stress and increase calmness, but there is currently a limited evidence base in this area. This study explored whether colouring-in is more effective than a neutral distraction activity and rumination in improving affect and state rumination after experiencing a laboratory stressor that involved solving difficult anagrams. Method The study was a mixed (3 x 3) experimental design, with condition as the between-subjects factor (distraction, colouring-in, rumination) and time as the repeated measures factor (baseline, post-stressor, post-manipulation). An undergraduate student sample (N = 90) was randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions. Participants completed the State Rumination Questionnaire (SRQ) and Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) to measure the impact of the stressor and the effects of each experimental condition. Results After experiencing the stressor, participants showed a significant increase in negative affect (p < . 001) and state rumination (p < . 001), and a significant reduction in positive affect (p < . 001). Participants in the colouring-in and distraction condition experienced a significantly greater improvement in negative affect than participants in the rumination condition (p = .001). Furthermore, the difference between the effects of the rumination versus the distraction conditions on negative affect was significantly more pronounced for people reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms (p < . 001). No significant difference was found between colouring-in and distraction conditions on state rumination (p = .52), positive affect (p = .92) or negative affect (p = .23). There was no significant difference between conditions change in state rumination (p = .81). Conclusion Findings from this study suggest colouring-in is as good at alleviating negative affect as a traditional distraction intervention. Results replicate previous findings that distraction activities are associated with mood improvement compared to rumination. However, distraction activities used in this study failed to change state rumination across conditions. Further research is required to understand the mechanisms underlying colouring-in which are associated with effects on mood.
Supervisor: Moberly, Nick Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available