Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Psychology



First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Second Advisor

Michael Allen

Third Advisor

Barbara Combs

Relational Format



High stress levels can have profound physical and emotional effects. Several coping mechanisms have been shown to decrease levels of stress. Values, a form of coping, have been implicated in reducing psychological and physiological indicators of stress. The behavioral component, committed action has also demonstrated treatment efficacy in ACT treatments of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. However, few studies have examined the effects of values and committed action on acute responses (e.g., cardiovascular reactivity) to stress. The purpose of the present study was to examine the association between values, committed action, and physiological responses to stress. Participants were 107 students from a public university in the southeastern region of the United States. The sample consisted of 33 males and 74 females ranging in age from 18 to 53 years. It was hypothesized that in the prediction of overall stress, committed action would account for variance beyond that of values. Similarly, in the prediction of both overall depression and anxiety levels, committed action would account for variance beyond that accounted for by values. Lastly, it was also expected that in the prediction of short-term changes in blood pressure and heart rate following a stress manipulation, committed action would account for variance beyond that accounted for by values. A series of hierarchical multiple regressions were conducted. As expected, committed action accounted for variance beyond values in the prediction of overall stress, depression levels, blood pressure (systolic), and heart rate. Contrary to expectations, in the prediction of anxiety levels, committed action did not account for variance beyond values. Results and implications of findings are discussed.


Emphasis: Clinical Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons



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