The Psychological Record

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 623–640 | Cite as

An Experimental Test of a Cognitive Defusion Exercise: Coping With Negative and Positive Self-Statements

  • Hilary-Anne Healy
  • Yvonne Barnes-HolmesEmail author
  • Dermot Barnes-Holmes
  • Claire Keogh
  • Carmen Luciano
  • Kelly Wilson


This study investigated the impact of defusion on a nonclinical sample (n = 60) in the context of negative (e.g., “I am a bad person”) and positive (e.g., “I am whole”) self-statements. Participants were assigned to one of three experimental conditions (Pro-Defusion, Anti-Defusion, and Neutral) that manipulated instructions about the impact of a defusion strategy. Defusion was also manipulated through the visual presentation of the self-statements, with each presented in three formats (Normal, Defused, Abnormal). Participants rated each self-statement for comfort, believability, and willingness. Although the instructions did not affect ratings, negative statements presented in the defused format decreased discomfort and increased willingness and believability relative to the nondefused statements. The findings suggest using defusion strategies in coping with negative psychological content.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hilary-Anne Healy
    • 1
  • Yvonne Barnes-Holmes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dermot Barnes-Holmes
    • 1
  • Claire Keogh
    • 1
  • Carmen Luciano
    • 2
  • Kelly Wilson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNational University of IrelandMaynooth, Co. KildareIreland
  2. 2.University of AlmeriaSpain
  3. 3.University of MississippiUSA

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