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This study tests the effectiveness of exposure therapy for fear of spiders as enhanced by the use of antagonistic or opposite actions during treatment. The goal of the study is to compare the efficacy threat-relevant opposite actions and threat-irrelevant opposite actions in extinguishing fear.
This study tests whether exposure therapy for fear of spiders can be enhanced with the use of opposite actions, which are actions opposite to fear-related action tendencies. The investigators will test two sub-types of opposite actions (a) threat-relevant opposite actions, which are actions antagonistic to specific threats associated with spider phobia, and (b) threat-irrelevant opposite actions, which are actions antagonistic to the fear response, but unrelated to specific threats associated with spider phobia. This exposure therapy enhanced with opposite actions will be compared with two control groups: standard exposure therapy and non-specific anxiety treatment (biofeedback relaxation training).
Individuals between the ages of 18-65 with elevated fear of spiders are randomly assigned to one of four treatment conditions (1) biofeedback relaxation training, (2) standard exposure therapy, (3) exposure therapy with threat-relevant opposite actions, and (4) exposure therapy with threat-irrelevant opposite actions. All participants undergo an online prescreen and a face-to-face screening assessment to determine eligibility and baseline (pre-treatment) symptom severity. Participants additionally complete assessments directly after treatment (post-treatment), and approximately two weeks after treatment (follow-up). The pre-treatment assessment occurs on the same day as treatment, the post-treatment assessment occurs during the treatment visit as soon as the treatment procedure is complete, and the follow-up assessment occurs within a window of 14-21 days after the completion of treatment. Participants complete two behavioral approach tests (in the treatment context and in the generalization context) at pre-treatment, post-treatment, and follow-up. Participants complete a battery of self-report questionnaires at pre-treatment and follow-up.
Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment
Biofeedback Relaxation Training, Exposure Therapy, Exposure with Threat-Relevant Opposite Actions, Exposure with Threat-Irrelevant Opposite Actions
Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders, University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-09-19T20:08:24-0400
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