Attempted suppression of social threat thoughts: Differential effects for social phobia and healthy controls?

  • Kingsep P
  • Page A
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Thought suppression research in the area of social phobia provides conflicting evidence regarding whether individuals demonstrate a general deficit or successful suppression. This paper reports the outcome of two studies using an online thought suppression paradigm measuring activation of target thoughts. Study 1 examined the effects of suppressing social threat stimuli with a healthy control group. Surprisingly, the results showed that participants demonstrated non-suppression of this stimuli class. Study 2 compared individuals with social phobia to a control group using the same stimuli as Study 1. Results revealed that following instructions to suppress social threat stimuli, individuals with social phobia demonstrated successful suppression, whilst the control group, as in Study 1, did not. The lack of suppression of social threat information by the control group may reflect functional impression-management of social threat stimuli. Whereas, successful suppression of these stimuli by individuals with social phobia, may contribute to diminished habituation to such information. ?? 2010.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognitive processes
  • Intrusive thought
  • Social phobia
  • Thought suppression

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  • Patrick Kingsep

  • Andrew Page

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