Targeting fear of spiders with control-, acceptance-, and information-based approaches

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Wagener, Alexandra L.
Zettle, Robert D.

Wagener A.L., and Zettle R.D. 2011. "Targeting fear of spiders with control-, acceptance-, and information-based approaches". Psychological Record, 61 (1): 77-92.


The relative impact of control-, acceptance-, and information-based approaches in targeting a midlevel fear of spiders among college students was evaluated. Participants listened to a brief protocol presenting one of the three approaches before completing the Perceived-Threat Behavioral Approach Test (PT-BAT; Cochrane, Barnes-Holmes, & Barnes-Holmes, 2008). During the PT-BAT, participants placed their hands in a series of opaque jars that they were led to believe were increasingly likely to contain a spider. Participants in the acceptance-based condition progressed the farthest and were more willing to repeat the procedure a week later, despite not differing from their counterparts in levels of subjective distress. Implications for the relative efficacy of acceptance- versus control-based approaches in treatment of specific phobia, their possible differential mechanisms of action, and the use of the PT-BAT as a dependent measure in further research are discussed.

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