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Rumination and the Enhancement of Fear: Some Laboratory Findings

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 June 2009

Graham C. L. Davey
The University of Sussex, Brighton


This paper describes some of the ways in which ruminative rehearsal and repetitive processing of phobic events may maintain or enhance anxious responding. It focuses on laboratory studies of repetitive rehearsal of potential phobic outcomes and repetitive processing of interoceptive cues. Rehearsal of threatening outcomes whilst in anxious mood has been shown to result in a short term enhancement and resistance to extinction of phobic responses. Increased attention to and discrimination of bodily cues (interoception) has also been shown to result in enhanced phobic responding and increased resistance to extinction. This latter finding appears to result from interoception (1) inflating the threatening nature of the outcome, and (2) leading the individual to reject contradictory information from other sources.

Research Article
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 1995

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