Changes in caffeine states enhance return of fear in spider phobia

Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.85). 05/2003; 71(2):243-50. DOI: 10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.243
Source: PubMed


Treatment of phobias is sometimes followed by a return of fear. Animal and human research has shown that changes in external and internal contexts between the time of treatment and follow-up tests often enhance return of fear. The present study examined whether shifts in caffeine (C) state would enhance return of fear. Participants who were highly afraid of spiders (n = 43) were treated in 1-session exposure-based therapy and tested for follow-up 1 week later. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 groups and received either placebo (P) or C at treatment and follow-up sessions: CC, PP, CP, and PC. Results demonstrated state-dependent learning. Participants experiencing incongruent drug states during treatment and follow-up (CP and PC) exhibited greater return of fear than those experiencing congruent drug states (CC and PP).

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