A naturalistic examination of positive expectations, time course, and disgust in the origins and reduction of spider and insect distress

Laura L. Vernon, Howard Berenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We used a naturalistic method to examine the causes of changes in individuals' reactions to, and feelings about, spiders and insects. In this descriptive retrospective study, 50 college students who reported substantial changes in their attitudes toward spiders and/or insects (in the absence of professional treatment) underwent telephone interviews about the change process. We found that individuals frequently describe the role of positive experiences and expectations in positive change and some individuals report sudden changes. Further, descriptions of the important role of disgust in the change process were common. We discuss the implications of our findings for understanding the etiology and treatment of spider and insect distress and make a case for the usefulness of naturalistic methods in expanding scientific knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-718
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Contextual shift
  • Disgust
  • Etiology
  • Positive beliefs
  • Spider phobia
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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