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Exploring the association between high anxiety, sleep difficulties and emotional regulation

Wallace, Frankie (2021) Exploring the association between high anxiety, sleep difficulties and emotional regulation. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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This project is aimed at improving understanding of the relationships between the high levels of anxiety, difficulties with emotional regulation and sleep difficulties. The hope is that increased knowledge and increased literature in this area can suggest measures to intervene and break the cycle, giving individuals hope that they are not destined for negative outcomes. A pathway starting with negative life events is explored to better understand where the elements of anxiety, emotional regulation and sleep may link together.

37 first year Murdoch University psychology students agreed to take part in the study. The participants were asked to repeatedly answer a series of questions about their emotional wellbeing on a mobile phone application created by the researches. Participants were rewarded with credit points towards their course of study upon completion.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health issues that Australians are currently trying to deal with (One in Five Australians Have a Mental Illness, 2008) and the ripple effect of its impact is significant (Sunderland et al., 2013). This is the reason for our area of research, and the decision to hypothesis that there is an association between high anxiety, sleep difficulties, and emotional regulation.

The findings of the study were limited, due to low participant numbers, low levels of usable data, delayed data, completion deadlines and technical issues. This led to the requirement to adjust the initial design of analysing each individual participant response, to an examination of the overall results instead. The data received demonstrated that anxiety, sleep difficulties and difficulties with emotional regulation are all significant amongst the students. Although there were many challenges in obtaining workable data in a timely manner, we were able to draw together results that provide an inside into the implications of associations between anxiety, sleep, emotional regulation and other associated factors.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Supervisor(s): Mathersul, Danielle and Fujiyama, Hakuei
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