Anxiety-Relief Conditioning: An Empirical Investigation

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The current study investigated the efficacy of Wolpe's original (1954) paradigm of anxiety-relief conditioning. The procedure consisted of administering a mildly aversive electric shock to a subject for several seconds until the subject said the word "Relax," and the shock was terminated. Repeated pairings were claimed by Wolpe to condition physiological relief to the cue word, "Relax," which could then be employed in order to reduce anxiety in various anxiety provoking situations. Since there does not appear to be a generally accepted theoretical rationale to account for the reported efficacy of anxiety-relief conditioning, several theoretical rationales were discussed. In addition, ... continued below

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v, 58 leaves : ill.

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LeTendre, Dana August 1977.

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  • LeTendre, Dana

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The current study investigated the efficacy of Wolpe's original (1954) paradigm of anxiety-relief conditioning. The procedure consisted of administering a mildly aversive electric shock to a subject for several seconds until the subject said the word "Relax," and the shock was terminated. Repeated pairings were claimed by Wolpe to condition physiological relief to the cue word, "Relax," which could then be employed in order to reduce anxiety in various anxiety provoking situations. Since there does not appear to be a generally accepted theoretical rationale to account for the reported efficacy of anxiety-relief conditioning, several theoretical rationales were discussed. In addition, a distinction was made between the anxiety-relief paradigm described by Wolpe (1954) and the aversion-relief paradigm employed by subsequent investigators (Gaupp, Stern, & Galbraith, 1972; Solyom, McClure, Heseltine, Ledwidge, & Solyom, 1972; Thorpe, Schmidt, Brown, & Castell, 1964). It was suggested that this distinction might be used to account for the failure of the current investigation to support the efficacy of anxiety-relief conditioning, as a review of the major study supporting its efficacy (Turnage & Wenrich, 1974) indicated that aversion-relief, rather than anxiety-relief, may have been employed. In the absence of strong supportive evidence for the efficacy of Wolpe's anxiety-relief paradigm, the need for further research elucidating the relevant parameters was discussed, and specific areas requiring more intensive study were delineated.

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v, 58 leaves : ill.

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  • August 1977

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  • March 9, 2015, 8:15 a.m.

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  • Dec. 10, 2018, 3:46 p.m.

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LeTendre, Dana. Anxiety-Relief Conditioning: An Empirical Investigation, dissertation, August 1977; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500828/: accessed January 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .