Imaginal exposure for chronic worry : the role of anxious arousal and imaginal sensory information
thesisposted on 2021-05-24, 07:38 authored by Leigh Curtis Henderson
This study examined the effect of exposure script references to anxious physiological sensations and the five senses upon anxious arousal during a single 30-minute imaginal exposure. Forty-five high worriers were randomized to two conditions: Comprehensive (all reference types included) or Limited (only visual and auditory references included). Anxious arousal was measured via heart rate (HR), skin conductance level (SCL) and self-report. Both conditions exhibited increased arousal patterns from baseline. SCL did not significantly decrease in either condition during exposure. For self-reported anxiety, Comprehensive participants exhibited significant decreases throughout exposure; but Limited participants demonstrated significant increases. Comprehensive participants reported significantly greater anticipated ability to cope after exposure. Results are discussed in the context of emotional processing theory.