Department of Psychology

Current Research

 

Self-Management & Mindfulness

Self-management and mindfulness are adaptive psychological constructs that benefit several outcomes (e.g., improved mental health and quality of life). Self-management is the ability to set goals, monitor progress towards goals, evaluate whether progress is being achieved, and to reinforce oneself when progress is made. Practicing self-management more effectively enables achievement of one's goals. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware in the present, to not judge experiences, and to remain centered in changing environments. Likewise, practicing mindfulness also fosters goal attainment and improved quality of life. However, self-management and mindfulness differ in the way they achieve such positive outcomes . Thus, this line of research investigates the relationship between these adaptive constructs to elucidate potentially shared features. These studies will use multiple behavioral and self-report measures to investigate the relationship between self-management and mindfulness. Doing so may have both empirical significance (e.g., by unifying theoretical and empirical perspectives), clinical significance (e.g., support for an integration of self-management and mindfulness techniques), and ultimately better inform our understanding of adaptive behaviors. 

Current Studies:

The Conceptual Relationship Between Self-Management and Mindfulness Study

Selected Publications:

Mezo, P. G., Leiter-Mcbeth, J. R., & Liou, J. (2019, November). The conceptual relationship between self-management and mindfulness. Posted presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Atlanta, GA.

mood, emotion, & self-regulation

These studies seek to examine classic self-regulation models, as they relate to the onset and maintenance of anxiety and depression, through the lens of recent developments in emotion regulation research and psychophysiology. The first aim of these studies is to explore and clarify the theoretical relationships between self-regulation and emotion regulation. The second aim of these studies is to examine the effects of self-regulation strategies (e.g., mindfulness meditation) in a laboratory setting. The third aim of these studies is to examine psychophysiological activity and its relationship to adaptive and maladaptive self-regulation strategies. Finally, the fourth aim of these studies is to examine these processes and their potential association to psychological well-being. 

Current Studies:
The Mood and Self-Regulation Study
The Self-Regulation, Emotions, & Coping Study

The Mood and Emotions in Daily Life Study

Selected Publications:
Pritchard, K. J., Herc, H. C., Buhk, A. H., & Mezo, P. G. (2019, June). Heart rate variability predicts mindfulness, emotion regulation deficits, and psychopathology. Poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, Dublin, Ireland.

Pritchard, K. J., Mezo, P. G., & Gratz, K. L. (2019, May). The impact of interpersonal emotion regulation on mood symptoms and the role of reassurance seeking. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington DC, VA.

Herc, H. C., Pritchard, K. J., Harrison, B. N., Herr, S. E., & Mezo, P. G. (2019, April). Using virtual reality to compare types of mindfulness meditation. In P. G. Mezo (Chair), Mindfulness and related skills associated with proximal and distal outcomes. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Leiter-McBeth, J. R., Mezo, P. G., Pritchard, K. J., Fairchild, K., & Radatz, E. E. (2019, April). The roles of mindfulness and self-management in the context of reported negative life events and perceived social support. In P. G. Mezo (Chair), Mindfulness and related skills associated with proximal and distal outcomes. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Mindful interoceptive accuracy study

Interoceptive accuracy (IAc) is often measured by the heartbeat counting task in which individuals count their heartbeats over varying timed trials. The closer their estimate to the actual number of heartbeats, the more interoceptively accurate they may be. IAc has been found to be increased in individuals with and a greater ability to engage in healthy emotion regulation strategies (e.g., cognitive reappraisal) and better decision making. Interestingly, increased IAc has been found in individuals with increased anxiety symptomology. This study will use heart rate variability (HRV) as an indicator of mindful awareness versus maladaptive awareness to body sensations, specifically the heart, in those with high IAc. HRV is the variation in time between heartbeats (R-R interval). HRV reflects the interplay of the peripheral (PNS) and sympathetic (SNS) branches of the autonomic nervous system. When the R-R interval has more variation, the PNS is thought to be engaged, and the body at rest. When the R-R interval is regular, the SNS is thought to be engaged. Thus, this study hypothesizes that increased IAc and HRV will be an indicator of mindful body awareness, while increased IAc and low HRV will be an indicator of maladaptive, or anxious, body awareness. 

 

Past Research

ROBINSON MINDFULNESS PROJECT

In collaboration with Dr. Wesley Bullock and Dr. Sarah Francis, this research study examined the implementation of a Mindfulness-Based program at a local elementary school located within a lower socio-economic community. The program involved the integration of mindfulness into the school day in the form of a full mindfulness class which students attend on a regular basis. The study tracked outcomes related to children’s overall mindfulness, academic performance, classroom behavior, and frequency of disciplinary actions. One of Dr. Mezo’s main interests within this study is to explore the psychometric properties of current mindfulness measures used for children/adolescents and ways to improve upon these measures.

Selected Publications:

Mezo, P. G., Herc, H. C., Pritchard, K. J., & Bullock, W. A. (2019). Evaluation and a proposed revision of the CAMM among underrepresented elementary school children. Assessment for Effective Intervention. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1534508419845465

Herc, H.C., Leiter-McBeth, J. R., Herr, S., Navarre, K. M., Bullock, W., Mezo, P. G. (2019, November). Extending mindfulness based interventions to ethnic minority youth with learning disabilities. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Atlanta, GA

TOLEDO VOLLEYBALL STUDY

In collaboration with Dr. Mojisola Tiamiyu and Dr. Sarah Francis, this research study explored the risk and resiliency factors associated with volleyball play among youth. In this study, researchers from the University of Toledo worked with coaches and staff at the Toledo Volleyball Club. The goal of this project is to identify factors that may help volleyball players perform well, such mindfulness, perceived anxiety control, and grit. We also want to identify factors that may hinder performance or enjoyment when playing volleyball. Parents of players also answered survey questions so that we can learn more about these factors.

Selected Publications:

Herc, H. C., Frantz, K., Al-Nahha, R., Mojisola, T., Francis, S., Mezo, P. G. (2019, November). Cultivating the well-being of elite youth athletes: The importance of grit and mindfulness. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Atlanta, GA.

Herc, H. C., Babu, P., Harrison, B., Radatz, E., Herr, S., Tiamiyu, M., Francis, S., & Mezo, P. G. ( 2019, April). Emotional self-efficacy and self-monitoring skills predict sports anxiety. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Last Updated: 4/3/20