Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Richard Beck

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

John Casada

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Scott Perkins


Profanity is a commonplace occurrence in everyday conversation and society as whole. Previous studies have analyzed the reasons people use profanity as well as the function of profanity in various stressful situations, such as pain. Emotional regulation is a series of strategies people use to control and modify their emotions. One frequent target emotion to be regulated is anxiety, a state of fear which may elicit avoidance behaviors and defense reactions. However, no previous research has exclusively looked at profanity as a potential emotional regulation strategy. This study determined whether or not profanity was a useful emotional regulation strategy for anxiety. Participants were recruited from undergraduate psychology courses at a southern university. Their participation in the study involved watching a frightening scene from a scary movie and assigned the use of either a profane or mundane word at specific times during the video. Profanity was hypothesized to diminish anxiety in an anxiety-inducing situation. No significant results were found from t-tests to compare the anxiety levels of the conditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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