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Treatment hurts: Lay theories of graded exposure in the treatment of four anxiety disorders

Furnham, A; Wilson, E; Chapman, A; Persuad, R; (2013) Treatment hurts: Lay theories of graded exposure in the treatment of four anxiety disorders. European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling , 15 (3) 253 - 273. 10.1080/13642537.2013.810657. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: This paper concerned the perceived suffering/side effects caused by various well-known treatments for personal problems. It looked at whether people understood whether potentially painful treatments that confront negative aversive affect were effective or not. Method: In total, 106 participants completed a long questionnaire assessing the 'psychological pain' ratings of 30 psychotherapy treatments, varying in fear exposure, for four relatively common anxiety disorders: social phobia, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Results: Factor analytic results revealed four clear factors underlying lay efficacy beliefs of psychotherapy interventions, varying in fear exposure: talking therapies, fear confrontation, fear avoidance, and alternative therapies. Talking therapies were rated the most effective across all disorders, but also the most painful. Fear avoidance therapies were rated the least effective and, along with alternative medicine, the least painful. Treatments involving fear exposure were rated the most painful. Regression analysis revealed talking therapies to be rated more efficacious by younger subjects than older subjects. Conclusion: Most people seem able to differentiate between the efficacies of interventions for different anxiety disorders and hold consensually held optimistic conceptions about the usefulness of psychotherapy treatments and counseling that involve fear exposure, despite knowledge of the psychophysical side effects that these therapies often entail. They favored talking cures over others, but that may have been due to misleading items in the questionnaire. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Type: Article
Title: Treatment hurts: Lay theories of graded exposure in the treatment of four anxiety disorders
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13642537.2013.810657
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13642537.2013.810657
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1418799
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