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The effect of mood induction on fear reduction Samson, Deborah Christine Veronica


The present research examined the relationship between mood and fear. A musical mood induction technique was utilized to induced either a happy mood or a sad mood in eighty-four female university students fearful of spiders or snakes. Following mood induction, subjects underwent in vivo systematic desensitization to reduce their fear. Fear levels were reassessed four weeks later and those subjects who showed a return of fear underwent a second session of exposure therapy. Measures of subjective fear and self-efficacy were taken before and after mood induction and again after fear reduction. The length of time taken to reduce fear was also recorded. The findings showed that an induced sad mood led to greater subjective fear and lower self-efficacy compared with an induced happy mood. In addition, an induced sad mood during fear reduction was associated with greater return of fear four weeks later. No difference was found in the length of time taken to reduce fear for happy and sad subjects. This study also addressed the issue of mood state dependency of fear reduction. It was hypothesized that subjects who underwent their second session of fear reduction while in a mood state congruent with that of their first session would show more rapid habituation than those in an incongruent mood state. The results did not support this hypothesis. If the findings of this investigation prove generalizable to clinical depression, they suggest that the most effective approach in treating individuals who are both clinically depressed and anxious may be to treat the depression before beginning exposure to fearful situations or stimuli.

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