Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response and State-Trait Anxiety in Adults

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för psykologi

Abstract: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) is a rapidly emerging but understudied sensory concept which according to earlier studies can help relieve symptoms of for exampledepression, anxiety, pain and stress while creating feelings of relaxation. The experience begins with a triggering audio or audio-visual stimulus which causes a physical reaction described as a tingling sensation beginning at the back of the head and further towards the periphery of the body. A previous study suggested that ASMR and neuroticism are related. Anxiety is a subfacet of neuroticism, which is why this study explored the relationship between State- and Trait-anxiety (S- and T-Anxiety) and ASMR to investigate if and in what way they are related. The research questions were “Is the level of State and Trait Anxiety associated with the level of ASMR experience?” and “Are there certain ASMR stimuli that are stronger related to State and Trait Anxiety than other ASMR stimuli?”. A total of 35 participants completed the questionnaires, of which the majority were between the ages 25-34, female, employed, coliving and answered that their highest level of education were studies at college/university. The results from the current self-report correlational study showed that ASMR and T-Anxiety are significantly negatively correlated, however, it failed to show any significant correlation between S-Anxiety and ASMR. Results also showed that one ASMR stimulus, finger flutters, significantly correlated negatively with T-Anxiety. The rest of the individual stimuli failed to show significant correlations with either S- or T-Anxiety. This suggests that anxiety may not be the driving sub-facet when searching for explanations for what makes ASMR and neuroticism associated. It also raises the question whether or not ASMR could be suitable as a therapeutic method for managing high T-Anxiety. Finally, it seems that individual ASMRstimulus vary in their connection to anxiety. However, it is only possible to draw conclusions on this sample, not the population, due to the small sample size. Further studies are needed to at least verify these results.

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