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Safety behaviour: a reconsideration

Rachman, S., Radomsky, A. S. and Shafran, R. (2008) Safety behaviour: a reconsideration. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46 (2). pp. 163-173. ISSN 0005-7967

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2007.11.008


There is ample evidence that the use of safety behaviour can interfere with the progress of therapy, particularly if exposure is involved. As a result, it is widely asserted that safety behaviour is anti-therapeutic. However, an unqualified rejection of safety behaviour should be reconsidered because we now have theoretical justification, experimental evidence and clinical observations showing that the judicious use of safety behaviour, especially in the early stages of treatment, can be facilitative. Experiments in which escape behaviour facilitated fear reduction, and others in which the use of safety gear facilitated fear reduction, are reviewed. It also appears that safety behaviour does not necessarily prevent disconfirmatory experiences. We propose that additional investigations of the judicious use of safety behaviour will help to elucidate therapeutic uses of safety behaviour in the treatment of anxious and related types of psychopathology. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences
ID Code:13892
Uncontrolled Keywords:safety behaviour, cognitive-behaviour therapy, exposure, anxiety, disorders, neutralization, treatment, IMPROVE TREATMENT RESPONSE, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL, SOCIAL PHOBIA, SEEKING BEHAVIORS, PANIC DISORDER, EXPOSURE, AGORAPHOBIA, ANXIETY, MAINTENANCE

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