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Open Psychology

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Reduction of Chronic Stress and Trait Anxiety by Inquiry of Cognitive Appraisals with the Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR) Method

Ann Krispenz / Oliver Dickhäuser
Published Online: 2019-04-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/psych-2018-0013


Background: Chronic stress and anxiety can impair individuals’ health. Appraisal theories assume that stress and anxiety are experienced if individuals appraise a situation as threatening for their well-being. Thus, the modification of cognitive appraisals can be expected to reduce stress and anxiety. A potentially effective method to modify individuals’ appraisals is inquiry-based stress reduction (IBSR; Mitchell & Mitchell, 2003).

Aims: The present study assesses the effects of IBSR on chronic stress and trait anxiety in comparison to a matched control group.

Method: We used a quasi-experimental repeated-measurement design and a non-clinical sample of N = 199. Participants’ chronic stress and anxiety levels were assessed before and three months after a nine-day IBSR training. To account for the consequences of missing randomization, propensity score matching was applied.

Results: As expected, data analyses revealed that in the IBSR training group chronic stress and trait anxiety statistically significantly decreased over the course of three months whereas in the matched control group, the levels of chronic stress and trait anxiety did not statistically significantly change.

Conclusions: IBSR seems to effectively reduce trait anxiety and chronic stress in a non-clinical sample.

Keywords: health psychology; inquiry-based stress reduction; cognitive appraisals


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About the article

Received: 2018-05-15

Accepted: 2019-02-11

Published Online: 2019-04-01

Published in Print: 2019-01-01

Citation Information: Open Psychology, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 185–199, ISSN (Online) 2543-8883, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/psych-2018-0013.

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© 2019 Ann Krispenz et al., published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. BY 4.0

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