Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Anxiety after remembering stressful academic versus brush with death events: The moderating roles of future time perspective and personal intimacy

Summary This study examines: (i) whether recalling stressful autobiographical events results in anxiety, (ii) the relation of memory qualities to anxiety, and (iii) the relation of future time perspective and personal intimacy to experiencing anxiety. Participants (N = 120) completed Future Time Perspective, Personal Intimacy and State Anxiety scales. They were randomly assigned to recall a brush with death, a stressful academic deadline, or a no‐stress control. Memory qualities (vividness and significance) were assessed. As expected, recalling stressful events resulted in anxiety with more personally significant events related to higher anxiety. Having a more open‐ended future time perspective related to lower anxiety after recalling a stressful academic deadline, whereas greater personal intimacy predicted lower anxiety after recalling a brush with death. Findings are discussed in terms of factors that may serve to moderate the link between stressful memories and the experience of anxiety.

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