The effects of suppressing thoughts and images about worrisome stimuli

Evelyn Behar, Theresa K. Vescio, T. D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Several investigations have examined the potential role of mentation suppression in various psychological disorders. Existing studies do not, however, differentiate between the effects of suppressing imagery- versus thought-based mentation. This distinction is an especially important one for worry, given the predominantly thought-based nature of the worry process. The present study sought to distinguish between the effects of suppressing thoughts versus images about worrisome versus neutrally valenced topics. Consistent with past studies of worry suppression, results failed to find a rebound effect regardless of valence (worrisome, neutral) or mentation content (thoughts, images). However, results did indicate that a decrease in worrisome mentation across two consecutive expression periods was more pronounced when the worrisome material was imagery-based rather than thought-based in nature. Implications of these findings as they pertain to the perpetuation of worrisome activity and to treatment of generalized anxiety disorder are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-298
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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