Defusion or Restructuring? A Comparison of Cognitive Techniques on the Reduction of Public Speaking Anxiety

Student, A. (2017) Defusion or Restructuring? A Comparison of Cognitive Techniques on the Reduction of Public Speaking Anxiety. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Objectives: Public speaking anxiety (PSA) is rapidly rising among the general population, however subclinical PSA sufferers rarely seek treatment leaving them vulnerable to developing chronic disorders. Evidence demonstrates ‘Cognitive Restructuring’ as the leading clinical therapy, however Cognitive Defusion, used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, may be a quick alternative intervention for moderately distressed individuals. Thus, the present study examined the preliminary effectiveness of a shortened, self-help format of Cognitive Defusion compared to Cognitive Restructuring on the reduction of subclinical PSA. Method: Sixty-three participants (M=25.70, SD=9.476) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions (Defusion, Restructuring, Control). All participants completed a battery of questionnaires assessing PSA symptomology, followed by the corresponding therapeutic task. Participants performed an ‘impromptu speech task’, then recompleted the measures. Results: Mixed ANOVAs yielded no significant effect of therapy type on the reduction of the PSA symptoms distress and avoidance, however there was a statistically marked decrease in anxiety within the Cognitive Defusion group, relative to the two comparisons. Conclusions: A brief, self-help Cognitive Defusion intervention has the potential applicability to reduce short-term PSA among subclinical populations, such as students, which may aid in the attainment of positive grades and job outcomes. Yet, additional research needs to investigate its recurrent use to determine any significant long terms effects regarding both avoidance and distress.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BSc (Hons) Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Wendy Ellison
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 12:31
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 12:31

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