Effects of Suppressing Thoughts About Emotional Material

Lizabeth Roemer, Thomas D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Concurrent and subsequent effects of suppressing versus expressing emotional (anxious and depressing) and neutral material were investigated. Subjects either suppressed or expressed thoughts about an anxious, depressing, or neutral target situation during an initial thought period. During the subsequent period, all subjects expressed thoughts about the same target situation. Analyses of thought content revealed that attempts to suppress the thought did not eliminate its occurrence. During the subsequent expression period, subjects in the initial expression condition displayed a significant decrease in statements about the target situation, indicating habituation, whereas subjects in the initial suppression condition showed an increase. Variations in this general pattern were observed on the basis of the different emotional valences of the target situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-474
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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