Explainers as an Indicator of Defensive Attitude to Experienced Anxiety in Young Women Differing in Their Styles of Coping with Threatening Stimuli

Monika Obrębska 1  and Joanna Zinczuk-Zielazna 1
  • 1 Adam Mickiewicz University, Institute of Psychology, Szamarzewskiego 89, 60-568 , Poznań, Poland

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a frequency analysis of causal conjunctions and explainers in the speech of persons categorised as low-anxious, high-anxious, and repressors, selected according to the criteria of Weinberger et al. (1979). Ninety female students, assigned to three groups: high-anxious persons (n = 30), low-anxious persons (n = 30), and anxiety repressors (n = 30), gave a speech lasting several minutes concerning personality features that they liked or disliked in themselves. The results strongly confirmed the hypothesis that there are differences in the frequency of use of causal conjunctions and explainers between repressors, high-anxious, and low-anxious individuals. Their number is highest in the utterances of repressors and lowest in the utterances of low-anxious individuals. Our study demonstrates that the experiencing of anxiety does not in itself lead to an increase in the frequency of use of causal expressions. The key factor would appear to be a high level of defensiveness and absence of insight into one’s emotional states, characteristic of repressors. This may lead to a need to rationalise and to seek possible causes for the state of anxiety, which is externalised linguistically through the use of a high number of causal expressions.

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