Long term consequences of suppression of intrusive anxious thoughts and repressive coping

E.G. Geraerts*, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, M. Jelicic, E. Smeets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The current experiment employed a thought suppression paradigm to investigate whether repressors (N = 40) are more skilled in suppressing positive and anxious autobiographical thoughts than low anxious (N = 40), high anxious (N = 40), and defensive high anxious (N = 40) individuals, both immediately and over a longer time period (i.e., 7 days). Regardless of suppression instructions, repressors reported during their lab visit fewer target thoughts for their most anxious events than participants in the other three groups. However, over a 7 days period, repressors showed the highest number of intrusive thoughts about their anxious autobiographical events. Thus, our results demonstrate that repressive coping might be adaptive in the short run, but counterproductive in the long run.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1451-1460
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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