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Title: An experimental comparison of counter-conditioning using modelling and information on animal fears in children : is compatible counter-conditioning more effective?
Author: Obermeier, Laura Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 9928
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2009
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Introduction There is growing empirical evidence for the role of Rachman's (1977) indirect pathways to fear. However, limited research has investigated the role of indirect pathways in counter-conditioning fear. There is early support for the effectiveness of the modelling and information pathways in reducing fear induced through the information pathway (Kelly, Barker, Field, Wilson & Reynolds, 2009). The current study induced fear using the information and modelling pathway and hypothesised that positive information would be more effective than modelling and that compatible counter-conditioning would be more effective than incompatible counter-conditioning, at reducing fear beliefs and behavioural avoidance. Method Research was conducted with a non-clinical sample of71 children aged 7-8 years. Using a prospective experimental design the researcher used information and modelling to induce fears about an unknown animal, another animal served as a no-information control. Fear beliefs and behavioural avoidance were measured. Children were randomly assigned to receive counter-conditioning using information or modelling or no-counter-conditioning and fear beliefs and behavioural avoidance were measured again. Results Both information and modelling were effective at reducing fear beliefs when compared to the control group. The effect of counter-conditioning on fear beliefs was influenced by method of fear acquisition. For fears induced using information, compatible counter-conditioning (information) was more effective than incompatible counterconditioning (modelling) and both methods were more effective than the control. For fears induced using modelling there were no differences between the effect of compatible or incompatible counter-conditioning or the control condition. Compatible counter-conditioning was more effective at reducing behavioural avoidance than incompatible conditioning or the control condition. Conclusion The results support the role of indirect pathways in counter-conditioning fear. Clinically, the study highlights the importance of considering methods of fear acquisition during assessment processes and the importance of including both cognitive and behavioural components within treatments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available