Date of Award

Spring 2019


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Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology: Clinical




Previous research has shown that tactile attachment interventions are able to mitigate experiences of social threat and facilitate compassionate and altruistic responding. Building off of those findings, this study examines the effects of touching an inanimate object - a teddy bear- upon experiences of shame, compassion, and different emotions after the induction of a shame memory. Eighty-one participants recruited from Eastern Washington University participated in this study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, in which they held either a teddy bear or water bottle. Participants were then prompted to think of a time they have experienced shame and given three minutes to write about that experience. Participants’ amount of induced shame and other emotions were assessed, as well as experienced self-compassion, fears of compassion, and the ability to engage in psychological flexibility through the use of a variety of measures. Results showed that participants in the teddy bear condition reported significantly higher rates of experiencing positive emotions compared to participants in the water bottle condition. No other significant results were found. The results of this study could indicate that a tactile safeness intervention may increase positive emotions and may mitigate the effects of felt shame.