Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational

Date of Defense

4-23-2018

Graduate Advisor

Stephanie Merritt

Committee

Stephanie Merritt

John Meriac

Jeffrey Noel

Matthew Taylor

Abstract

Occupations involving vigilance performance (i.e., sustained attention in monitoring for rare environmental threats) are known to experience vigilance decrement, a decline in performance over time. These occupations are known to be cognitively and emotionally challenging, giving rise to harmful effects for employees in them and presenting safety implications for the welfare of others. The current study investigated mindfulness as a potentially viable intervention to alleviate outcomes of vigilance demands: stress and mental demand. A mindfulness induction was compared to an unfocused control condition in which both were administered during a break from a vigilance task, specifically, a baggage screening task. Ultimately, findings did not reveal positive effects for the mindfulness intervention, leading to reservations about its viability in a vigilance context. Moderation analyses revealed that baseline levels of stress and mental demand may have impacted one’s ability to derive benefits from the mindfulness intervention. Finally, though the intervention failed to take effect, promising findings emerged for general levels of trait and state mindfulness across participants, independent of condition. Implications and future research directions are discussed. `

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