Perceived control and controllability

Michelle G. Craske*, Richard Bunt, Ronald M. Rapee, David H. Barlow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of control over exposure duration, and perceived emotional control in general, on fear during exposure. Eighty spider phobics were exposed to a tarantula spider over six trials. Subjects were divided into two groups: high perceived emotional control and low perceived emotional control. Half of each group were given control over the duration of each exposure trial and inter-trial interval, while the other half were yoked with members of the first half for the purposes of duration matching. Dependent measures included degree of actual fear experienced, and degree of fear predicted to occur. Neither perceived emotional control in general nor control over the duration of exposure affected fear levels, fear reduction, or fear prediction accuracy. The failure to replicate earlier observations of the anxiolytic effects of perceived control is attributed to brevity of exposure and the demanding nature of the experimental situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

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