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ERIC Number: EJ1008507
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 24
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2933
Cognitive Defusion versus thought Distraction in the Mitigation of Learned Helplessness
Hooper, Nic; McHugh, Louise
Psychological Record, v63 n1 p209-217 Win 2013
Recent research suggests that attempting to avoid unwanted psychological events is maladaptive. Contrastingly, cognitive defusion, which is an acceptance-based method for managing unwanted thoughts, may provide a plausible alternative. The current study was designed to compare defusion and experiential avoidance as strategies for coping with unwanted thoughts during a learned helplessness preparation. Before entering the learned helplessness preparation, participants were provided with 1 of 3 instructions: defusion, experiential avoidance (via a thought distraction instruction), or control (i.e., no instruction). Directly after the learned helplessness preparation, participants were instructed to attempt a pen-and-paper maze task, where their completion time was recorded. Results indicated that participants who received the defusion instruction produced maze times that were significantly shorter than the thought distraction and control groups. Results are discussed in terms of the efficacy of defusion instructions in the management of unwanted thoughts and the maladaptive nature of engaging in experiential avoidance. (Contains 2 figures.)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mailcode 4609, Rehabilitation Institute, Carbondale, IL 62901-4609. Tel: 618-536-7704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Wales)
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Beck Depression Inventory