Cognitive Defusion Versus Thought Distraction in the Mitigation of Learned Helplessness

Cognitive Defusion Versus Thought Distraction in the Mitigation of Learned Helplessness Recent research suggests that attempting to avoid unwanted psychological events is maladaptive. Contrastingly, cognitive defusion, which is an acceptance-based method for managing unwanted thoughts, may provide a plausible alternative. The current study was designed to compare defusion and experiential avoidance as strategies for coping with unwanted thoughts during a learned helplessness preparation. Before entering the learned helplessness preparation, participants were provided with 1 of 3 instructions: defusion, experiential avoidance (via a thought distraction instruction), or control (i.e., no instruction). Directly after the learned helplessness preparation, participants were instructed to attempt a pen-and-paper maze task, where their completion time was recorded. Results indicated that participants who received the defusion instruction produced maze times that were significantly shorter than the thought distraction and control groups. Results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of defusion instructions in the management of unwanted thoughts and the maladaptive nature of engaging in experiential avoidance. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Psychological Record Springer Journals

Cognitive Defusion Versus Thought Distraction in the Mitigation of Learned Helplessness

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Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 by Association of Behavior Analysis International
Subject
Psychology; Psychology, general
ISSN
0033-2933
eISSN
2163-3452
D.O.I.
10.11133/j.tpr.2013.63.1.016
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent research suggests that attempting to avoid unwanted psychological events is maladaptive. Contrastingly, cognitive defusion, which is an acceptance-based method for managing unwanted thoughts, may provide a plausible alternative. The current study was designed to compare defusion and experiential avoidance as strategies for coping with unwanted thoughts during a learned helplessness preparation. Before entering the learned helplessness preparation, participants were provided with 1 of 3 instructions: defusion, experiential avoidance (via a thought distraction instruction), or control (i.e., no instruction). Directly after the learned helplessness preparation, participants were instructed to attempt a pen-and-paper maze task, where their completion time was recorded. Results indicated that participants who received the defusion instruction produced maze times that were significantly shorter than the thought distraction and control groups. Results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of defusion instructions in the management of unwanted thoughts and the maladaptive nature of engaging in experiential avoidance.

Journal

The Psychological RecordSpringer Journals

Published: May 23, 2017

References

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