International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 7 Num. 3 - November 2007


Analysis of the Efficacy of Different Thought Supression Strategies [An?lisis de la Eficacia de Distintas Estrategias de Supresi?n del Pensamiento]

Volume 7 Num. 3 - November 2007 - Pages 335-345


Juan Vicente Luciano and Salvador Algarabel Gonz?lez


Some researches have demonstrated that when one wants to suppress a thought, it is paradoxically the first thing that comes to mind. However, subsequent studies on this topic have pointed out that successful thought suppression depends on the specific strategy employed to deal with the unwanted thought. The present study examined the impact of different thought suppression instructions on the frequency and appraisals of memories
about the March 11 attacks that took place in 2004 in Madrid. Thus, 120 undergraduates were randomly allocated to the following experimental conditions: thought suppression, thought suppression with focused distraction, thought suppression confronting a reminder, and monitor-only. Data analysis showed an absence of paradoxical effects, that is, neither immediate nor delayed frequency increases of the target thought. Furthermore, those participants instructed to use focused distraction reported less intrusions than those from the control condition at short and long-term. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to previous studies on thought control.

Key words:

Thought suppression, Intrusive thoughts, Paradoxical effects, Mental control.

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