Nuevo artículo publicado: "Effects of an acceptance/defusion intervention on experimentally induced generalized avoidance: A laboratory demonstration"

Abstract

This study tests the effectiveness of an acceptance/defusion intervention in reducing experimentally

induced generalized avoidance. After the formation of two 6-member equivalence classes, 23 participants

underwent differential conditioning with two elements from each class: A1 and B1 were paired with mild

electric shock, whereas A2 and B2 were paired with earning points. Participants learned to produce

avoidance and approach responses to these respective stimuli and subsequently showed transfer of

functions to non-directly conditioned equivalent stimuli from Class 1 (i.e., D1 and F1 evoked avoidance

responses) and Class 2 (i.e., D2 and F2 evoked approach responses). Participants were then randomly

assigned to either a motivational protocol (MOT) in which approaching previously avoided stimuli was

given a general value, or to a defusion protocol (DEF) in which defusion (a component of Acceptance and

Commitment Therapy) was trained while approaching previously avoided stimuli was connected to

personally meaningful examples. A post-hoc control group (CMOT) was conducted with 16 participants to

control for differences in protocol length between the former two groups. All participants in the DEF group

showed a complete suppression of avoidance responding in the presence of Class 1 stimuli (A1–F1 and

additional novel stimuli in relation to them), as compared to 40% of participants in the MOT condition and

20% in the CMOT condition. The acceptance/defusion protocol eliminated experimentally induced

avoidance responding even for stimuli that elicited autonomic fear responses.

Key words: aversive conditioning, avoidance, experimental psychopathology, transfer of functions,

defusion, acceptance, psychological inflexibility

 

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