How to handle anxiety: The effects of reappraisal, acceptance, and suppression strategies on anxious arousal
ABSTRACT It has been suggested that reappraisal strategies are more effective than suppression strategies for regulating emotions. Recently, proponents of the acceptance-based behavior therapy movement have further emphasized the importance of acceptance-based emotion regulation techniques. In order to directly compare these different emotion regulation strategies, 202 volunteers were asked to give an impromptu speech in front of a video camera. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The Reappraisal group was instructed to regulate their anxious arousal by reappraising the situation; the Suppression group was asked to suppress their anxious behaviors; and the Acceptance group was instructed to accept their anxiety. As expected, the Suppression group showed a greater increase in heart rate from baseline than the Reappraisal and Acceptance groups. Moreover, the Suppression group reported more anxiety than the Reappraisal group. However, the Acceptance and Suppression groups did not differ in their subjective anxiety response. These results suggest that both reappraising and accepting anxiety is more effective for moderating the physiological arousal than suppressing anxiety. However, reappraising is more effective for moderating the subjective feeling of anxiety than attempts to suppress or accept it.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Stefan G Hofmann, May 15, 2015
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ABSTRACT: The effects of three emotion regulation strategies that targeted smoking-related thoughts were compared on outcomes relevant to smoking cessation. Daily smokers applied defusion (n = 25), reappraisal (n = 25) or suppression (n = 23) to thoughts associated with smoking during a cue-induced craving procedure. Smoking behaviour, approach/avoidance behavioural bias, and subjective measures of experiential avoidance, craving, and affect were assessed during the experimental session, with additional behavioural and subjective outcomes assessed at 24 h and seven day follow-up. The influence of baseline group differences in smoking level and nicotine dependence were explored statistically. Defusion and reappraisal were associated with greater restraint in smoking behaviour in the immediate post-session period as well as reduction in smoking at seven day follow-up compared to suppression. Relative to suppression, reduced subjective craving was seen in the reappraisal group, and reduced experiential avoidance in the defusion group. Differences in approach/avoidance responses to smoking and neutral cues were observed only between the suppression and reappraisal groups. Although suppression was rated as lower in both credibility and strategy-expectancy compared to defusion and reappraisal, neither credibility nor expectancy mediated the effect of any strategy on changes in levels of smoking. Defusion and reappraisal produced similar benefits in smoking-related behavioural outcomes but, relative to suppression, were associated with distinctive outcomes on experiential avoidance and craving. The effects appear to be independent of perceived expectancy and credibility of the different strategies. Overall, the results suggest a role for reappraisal and defusion strategies in the development of psychological treatments for addiction-related disorders. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Behaviour Research and Therapy 03/2015; 69. DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2015.03.013 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Objectives Anticipatory anxiety is a core feature of social anxiety disorder (SAD); however, there is a paucity of data on effective strategies for dealing with this affective state. The present study examined the effects of reappraisal, acceptance, and distraction on the course of anticipatory anxiety.DesignThe study used an experimental design, randomly assigning participants to one of three strategy groups. Participants were instructed to employ these strategies during the anticipation of an impromptu speech.Methods Participants with SAD (n = 67) and healthy controls (n = 72) were compared with regard to their ability to adopt the prescribed strategies and with regard to the effects of strategy use on self-reported and psychophysiological markers of arousal.ResultsSAD participants reported more problems in adopting the assigned strategies than controls, although the time spent with each strategy did not differ by group. In both groups, acceptance was rated as more difficult to adopt than reappraisal and distraction. Subjective ratings of anxiety decreased during the first 10 min of anticipation regardless of diagnostic group or strategy, but anxiety increased again immediately prior to the speech. Psychophysiological parameters were largely unaffected by group or strategy.Conclusion The results question whether there are differential benefits of different emotion regulation (ER) strategies in dealing with anticipatory anxiety. The observed rebound of anxiety prior to the social event calls into doubt the long-term effectiveness of these strategies, at least during the regulation of anticipatory anxiety.Practitioner pointsCoping with anticipatory anxiety is an important issue in treating SAD.Compared to healthy controls, individuals diagnosed with SAD experienced more problems in adopting prescribed ER strategies for dealing with anticipatory anxiety.We found no differences between acceptance, reappraisal, and distraction, calling into question that one strategy should be generally recommended by clinicians.01/2015; DOI:10.1111/papt.12053
Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie Psychologie und Psychotherapie 01/2011; 59(2):133-144. DOI:10.1024/1661-4747/a000063 · 1.99 Impact Factor