The Effect of Distraction on Within-Session Anxiety Reduction During Brief In Vivo Exposure for Mild Blood-Injection Fears

K. Penfold, Andrew Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined the effects of attentional focus on anxiety reduction during in vivo exposure. Thirty-nine mildly blood- and injection-fearful subjects were randomly assigned to one of three brief (i.e., 10 minute) exposure conditions. Cognitive attention to the blood-and-injection stimuli was manipulated by engaging participants in either stimulus-relevant conversation (exposure-plus-focusing condition), stimulus-irrelevant conversation (exposure-plus-distraction condition), or no conversation (exposure alone). Attention was successfully manipulated, and while exposure-plus-distraction resulted in a greater decrease in anxiety within-session than both the exposure-plus-focusing and exposure-alone conditions, the three groups showed no difference at postexposure in the behavioral approach task. Implications for the practice of exposure techniques and theories of emotional processing are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)607-621
JournalBehavior Therapy
Volume30
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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