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Too little, too much, or just right? Does the amount of distraction make a difference during contamination-related exposure?

Title:

Too little, too much, or just right? Does the amount of distraction make a difference during contamination-related exposure?

Senn, Jessica M. and Radomsky, Adam S. (2017) Too little, too much, or just right? Does the amount of distraction make a difference during contamination-related exposure? Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry . ISSN 00057916 (In Press)

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2017.10.004

Abstract

Background and objectives

The extant literature has shown mixed results regarding the impact of distraction use on exposure outcome; however, a wide variety of distraction tasks have been utilized across studies. In order to better understand these discrepant findings, we aimed to evaluate the impact of differing levels of distraction on exposure outcome. Additionally, treatment acceptability and changes in self-efficacy were assessed to evaluate how these may differ as a function of distraction use.

Methods

In Experiment 1 (N = 176 participants tested), distraction tasks were experimentally validated through assessing changes in reaction time when completing concurrent tasks. Based on Experiment 1, distraction tasks were selected for use in Experiment 2, in which contamination-fearful participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: no, low, moderate, or high distraction during an exposure session. Participants (N = 124) completed a behavioural approach test and self-efficacy measure pre- and post-exposure and at one-week follow-up. Treatment acceptability was assessed immediately following the exposure session.

Results

There were no significant differences between conditions for changes in behavioural approach pre-to post-exposure or at one-week follow-up. However, increases in self-efficacy pre-to post-exposure were greatest for moderate distraction, and treatment acceptability was highest with moderate and high distraction.

Limitations

Participants were not assessed for clinical severity, were not treatment-seeking, and only one specific type of fear was investigated.

Conclusions

Distraction (at any level) did not appear to negatively impact exposure outcome (all conditions improved pre-to post-exposure and at follow-up), but utilizing moderate to high amounts of distraction increased treatment acceptability

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Senn, Jessica M. and Radomsky, Adam S.
Journal or Publication:Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Date:23 October 2017
Funders:
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (FRN 119283)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1016/j.jbtep.2017.10.004
Keywords:Exposure; Distraction; Anxiety; Treatment acceptability; Self-efficacy; Contamination fear
ID Code:983131
Deposited By: DANIELLE DENNIE
Deposited On:26 Oct 2017 14:59
Last Modified:19 Oct 2018 00:00
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