THE EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING OF SELF-EFFICACY PERCEPTIONS ON THE EXPOSURE TREATMENT OF ADOLESCENT AND ADULT AGORAPHOBICS (PHOBIA, BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION)

RUBIN L WEISS, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the effects of cognitive restructuring the self-efficacy perceptions of adolescent and adult agoraphobics during exposure. The rationale for this treatment approach came from three research areas. First, exposure clearly is the therapeutic factor in all behavioral treatments of phobias. However, 25 years of research have not fully explained how exposure works or how to make it more effective.^ Second, Bandura proposes that exposure can only be successful in creating significant changes in phobic behavior when the individual's self-efficacy is positively changed. Yet, both self-efficacy and exposure researchers leave changes in self-efficacy to chance by not directly addressing it in their treatments.^ Finally, cognitive behaviorists offer a treatment approach which focuses directly on the phobic person's cognitions. Though previous research on cognitive-behavioral treatments of clinical phobias is equivocal at best, this approach was adapted in an effort to make it more effective. According to both self-efficacy and cognitive-behavioral theories, adding a cognitive component which focuses specifically on self-efficacy during exposure should enhance exposure's effectiveness.^ The self-efficacy exposure treatment sought to enhance pure exposure by training six agoraphobic subjects in positive self-efficacious thinking during sessions of behavioral practice. Two teenagers and four adults with significant phobic problems engaged in progressively more difficult activities for approximately 20 weeks. Treatment was provided under either a Multiple Baseline Across Subjects design for the two adolescents or an Alternate Treatment Design for the four adults.^ Results indicated that in vivo exposure was very successful for four of the six subjects on all measures of phobic behavior (approach behavior, fear arousal, and self-efficacy). This significant progress was maintained through the 1-month follow-up. Nevertheless, the self-efficacy training did not enhance the effect of exposure.^ A self-statements measure used to assess self-efficacy along with the traditional self-efficacy assessments. This measure showed that positive self-efficacy was important for treatment success but that the study's self-efficacy training was not essential for exposure to work. ^

Subject Area

Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

WEISS, RUBIN L, "THE EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING OF SELF-EFFICACY PERCEPTIONS ON THE EXPOSURE TREATMENT OF ADOLESCENT AND ADULT AGORAPHOBICS (PHOBIA, BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8624510.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624510

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