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Title: The impact of affect labelling on responses to aversive flying-cues
Contributor(s): Azoum, Michelle (author); Clark, Gavin I  (author); Rock, Adam J  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2018-04-19
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194519
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Individuals with flying phobia experience increases in subjective anxiety in response to flying-related cues. However, the cognitive processes that contribute to cue-reactive anxiety in individuals with flying-related anxiety remain poorly understood. Preliminary research suggests that changes in visual imagery and volitional control may contribute to this cue-reactive anxiety. Engaging in affect labelling during exposure therapy has been shown to reduce cue-reactive anxiety in individuals with fears relating to a variety of stimuli but has not been investigated in the fear of flying. The present study recruited 110 participants with a range of flying-related anxiety scores to complete an online cue-reactivity experiment. The study sought to evaluate whether an aversive flying cue triggered changes in imagery, volitional control and anxiety, and whether changes in imagery and volitional control predicted level of cue-reactive anxiety. Participants were randomly allocated to an affect labelling or non-affect labelling condition to additionally assess whether engaging in labelling one's emotion following exposure to an aversive flying cue would attenuate cue-reactive changes in anxiety relative to a group who did not. Significant cue-reactive changes in anxiety, and volitional control were observed from neutral to aversive flying cue were observed. After accounting for the effects of flying anxiety severity, only volitional control significantly improved the prediction of cue-reactive anxiety. Participants in the affect labelling condition reported significantly smaller increases in anxiety than the non-affect labelling group following exposure to the aversive flight cue. This is the first study to indicate affect labelling may help to regulate aspects of cue-reactive anxiety in response to aversive flying stimuli.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PLoS One, 13(4), p. 1-17
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1932-6203
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520301 Clinical neuropsychology
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Psychology

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