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Title: The effects of coping strategies upon the expression of fear
Author: Mervyn-Smith, John L.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1983
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Glogower et al. (1978) have suggested that coping self-statements (CSS) form the major therapeutic component of cognitive restructuring therapies. However, to date there has been no consensus in the literature about the nature of effective CSS. Indeed, many studies which have examined the effects of cognitive therapies have failed to adequately describe the CSS component of the therapies. The initial focus of this thesis was on two coping strategies which have been described (Meichenbaum, 1971; Evans, 1977). Both strategies encourage fearful subjects to cope with the physiological concomitants of fear on the assumption that fear is mediated by their perceptions of such concomitants. However, the emphasis of these strategies is quite different; Evans' strategy encourages subjects to passively accept the physiological concomitants of fear (PCS) while Meichenbaum's encourages subjects to actively cope with this aspect of fear by self-instructing to relax and keep calm (ACS). It was found that the former strategy (PCS) had a beneficial effect upon fear of spiders but lead to an increase in fear for a group of speech-anxious subjects. The ACS had a significant fear-reducing effect upon speech anxiety. In addition, it was found that fearful public speakers who devised their own strategies experienced a reduction in fear. The possible interpretation of these findings prompted an investigation of the relationship between locus of control orientation and the expression of fear. It was found that externality was positively correlated with fear of many of the items on the FSS III (Wolpe, 1973) including the item 'Speaking in Public'. However, when actually presenting a speech it was found that fearful internals expressed significantly more fear than fearful externals. Interpretations of this finding are discussed along with possible implications for therapy. A practically convenient procedure for investigating speech anxiety is described. An investigation of the recognition of the non-verbal expression of speech anxiety is also reported.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Physiological Psychology