Reduction of verbally learned fear in children: a comparison between positive information, imagery, and a control condition

P. Muris, J. Huijding, B. Mayer, W. van As, S. van Alem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study explored the effects of positive information and imagery as ways of reducing a verbally installed fear in children. Seventy-two primary school children aged 9-13 years were first exposed to negative information to induce fear of a novel animal, and were then randomly assigned to three interventions: positive information, imagery, or a control condition. Outcome of various interventions was assessed by means of a standardized scale of fear beliefs and an index of confirmation bias (defined as the tendency to search for threat information in relation to the feared stimulus). Results indicated that both positive information and imagery were more effective in reducing fear than the control condition. Some evidence was also obtained showing that positive information was more effective than imagery, which suggests that this intervention represents the most optimal treatment approach when dealing with verbally acquired fears in children. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-144
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ACQUISITION
  • ANXIETY
  • CHILDHOOD FEARS
  • Childhood fears
  • EMOTIVE IMAGERY
  • Imagery
  • ORIGINS
  • PHOBIAS
  • PROSPECTIVE PARADIGM
  • Positive information
  • RACHMANS INDIRECT PATHWAYS
  • RELIABILITY
  • VALIDITY
  • Verbal information transmission

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