Mood changes

Mood changes in response to electroacupuncture treatment in a classroom situation. Personality type, emotional intelligence and prior acupuncture experience, with an exploration of Shannon entropy,  response style and graphology variables

© Tony Steffert and David Mayor

Background information (PDF)
The poster (PDF)

Background. We have used multiple rating scales to assess moods in our research since 2011. Here we present the results of using a multiple NRS for mood, the NRS-M, before and after electroacupuncture (EA) delivered in a classroom situation. With a variety of innovative secondary measures, we explore how the NRS-M was scored, and also whether personality type, emotional intelligence and the helpfulness of prior acupuncture impacted on NRS-M scores and changes.

Objectives. 1. To pilot primary measures of personality type, emotional intelligence (EI) and the helpfulness of prior acupuncture in a teaching situation; 2. To develop secondary measures to describe how the NRS-M and EI scales are completed; 3. To provide descriptive statistics for these primary and secondary measures; 4. To investigate interactions between the primary and secondary measures; 5. To draw conclusions from the resulting findings.

Methods. Respondents were recruited during six EA teaching sessions in the UK, attended as part of the requirement for a University degree qualification in acupuncture practice. The teaching sessions all followed a similar standard pattern, and respondents were not obliged to complete the scales. Ethics approval was granted under applications for related studies by the Health and Human Sciences Ethics Committee of the University of Hertfordshire, UK. Permission was also received from the course organisers and respondents themselves. Further information on the questionnaires and secondary measures used, together with their analysis, is provided HERE

Results. Mood changes exhibited a ‘regression to the median’: ‘Positive’ moods (e.g. Relaxation) tended to increase and ‘negative’ moods (e.g. ‘Gloomy’) to decrease. Intuitive Jungian (Myers-Briggs) types outnumbered Sensing types, and Feeling types outnumbered Thinking types, supporting the view of acupuncturists as likely to be – or to consider themselves as – more ‘touchy-feely’ than thinking types. In support of this, emotional intelligence (EI) scores for these acupuncture students appeared significantly higher than the reference norms for the general population. There were also differences in response between Introverts and Extraverts, and several dimensions of EI that can be considered as markers of self-regulation were significantly more prominent for ‘good responders’ than ‘poor responders’. In addition, those who initially felt more ‘Gloomy’ were slightly more likely to position their X below the line when scoring their moods using the NRS, whereas EI Optimism tended to be higher in those scoring above the line.

Conclusions. Many statistical tests were conducted to assess differences and associations between the primary and secondary measures used in this study, so at least some of these findings are likely to be the result of chance. They should therefore be treated with caution rather than embraced uncritically. Nevertheless, our results may be helpful when entering the uncharted waters of the question ‘Who responds well to acupuncture?’, our next major project. Similarly, this first known attempt to use Shannon entropy to analyse questionnaire results was disappointing, but could pave the way to investigating whether variability (uncertainty) in responses to self-report instruments is in any way associated (positively) with more openness or awareness, or (negatively) with levels of stress or anxiety.

To Rowan Bayne, Pauline Esson and Angela Hicks for discussions on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and to Roman Kotov for an exchange on the personality of those who follow questionnaire instructions and those who do not; to Tim Watson at the University of Hertfordshire, and of course our spouses/partners, the Colleges involved, and our questionnaire respondents, without whom none of this would have been possible. However, it goes without saying that any errors in this report remain our own responsibility (mostly David’s, who talks less but writes more).

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