Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Investigating the cognitive characteristics of positive mental health and resilience
Author: Parsons, Sam
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 0377
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Mental health is distinct to emotional vulnerability, and can be characterised by wellbeing and functioning well in life. Cognitive-affective approaches have been widely used to investigate emotional vulnerability, however, research investigating the cognitive characteristics of mental health and resilience is in its infancy. Research in this thesis examined emotional information processing biases in positive mental health. Chapters Two and Three present cross-sectional data that support the continued exploration of the role of emotional cognitive biases in mental health. Chapter Two found associations between positive attention biases and psychological flexibility, and between the recognition of facially expressed emotions and mental health. Chapter Three found that the interrelationships amongst biases in attention, interpretation, and memory differed between high mental health and low mental health samples of adolescents. In Chapters Four and Five, attention bias modification was used to train attention bias towards positive information and away from negative information. Training-induced shifts in attentional bias were found to associate with positive emotions and happiness 12 weeks later in Chapter Four, but not in the replication and extension in Chapter Five. In Chapter Six a cognitive model of psychological resilience is introduced to draw together the largely disparate fields of emotional information-processing in emotional vulnerability, and resilience approaches. Chapter Seven was a proof-of-principle study of one hypothesis drawn from the cognitive model outlined in Chapter Six. Data from a novel attention bias alignment assessment task supported the hypothesis that individuals are capable of aligning attentional bias to threat as a function of whether displaying such a bias is adaptive or maladaptive in the current context. The studies in this thesis contribute to the understanding of emotional information-processing in mental health and resilience. Future studies investigating the adaptive directing of cognitive biases in differing contexts may be especially useful moving forward.
Supervisor: Fox, Elaine ; Kruijt, Anne-Wil Sponsor: European Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology, Experimental