Emotional avoidance: An experimental test of individual differences and response suppression using biological challenge

M. T. Feldner, M. J. Zvolensky, G. H. Eifert, A. P. Spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The present study examined the affective consequences of response inhibition during a state of anxiety-related physical stress. Forty-eight non-clinical participants were selected on the basis of pre-experimental differences in emotional avoidance (high versus low) and subjected to four inhalations of 20% carbon dioxide-enriched air. Half of the participants were instructed to inhibit the challenge-induced aversive emotional state, whereas the other half was instructed to simply observe their emotional response. Participants high in emotional avoidance compared to those low in emotional avoidance responded with greater levels of anxiety and affective distress but not physiological arousal. Individuals high in emotional avoidance also reported greater levels of anxiety relative to the low emotional avoidance group when suppressing compared to observing bodily sensations. These findings are discussed in terms of the significance of emotional avoidance processes during physical stress, with implications for better understanding the nature of panic disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Biological challenge
  • Emotional avoidance
  • Suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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