Therapy set: Its effects on subjects' involvement in systematic desensitization and treatment outcome

Gerald M. Rosen
1974 Journal of Abnormal Psychology  
The present study tested the hypothesis that therapy instructions significantly augment desensitization treatment effects by influencing subjects' involvement in the conditioning procedure. College snake phobics were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups or a no-treatment control. Therapy set and involvement instructions were manipulated within a 2X2 factorial design in order to create therapeutically and experimentally oriented subjects who were either unencouraged or encouraged to
more » ... ed or encouraged to work hard at the experimental procedure. Analyses revealed therapy instructional effects on both behavioral and self-report measures of fear change which could not be attributed to experimenters' awareness of instructional manipulations. Therapy oriented subjects' performance scores were not, however, significantly greater than those obtained by subjects with an experimental orientation. Alternative hypotheses and future research strategies for testing therapy instructional effects are discussed. Studies investigating therapy instructional effects on desensitization have generally adopted one of two research tactics. In one approach, subjects are provided with a general therapeutic orientation while instructional manipulations attempt to influence their expectations regarding treatment outcome. In general, these studies have demonstrated small between-group differences which usually fail to attain statistical significance (Lomont
doi:10.1037/h0036732 fatcat:ypwmpcjrazdblmciqx7xwvhibi