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The impact of intolerance of uncertainty and cognitive behavioural instructions on safety learning

Wake, S., van Reekum, C. M. ORCID:, Dodd, H. ORCID: and Morriss, J. (2020) The impact of intolerance of uncertainty and cognitive behavioural instructions on safety learning. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 44 (5). pp. 931-942. ISSN 0147-5916

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10608-020-10113-4


Background Difficulty updating threat associations to safe associations has been observed in individuals who score high in self-reported Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU). Here we sought to determine whether an instruction based on fundamental principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy could promote safety learning in individuals with higher levels of IU, whilst controlling for self-reported trait anxiety (STICSA). Methods We measured skin conductance response, pupil dilation and expectancy ratings during an associative threat learning task in which participants either received a cognitive behavioural instruction or no instruction prior to threat extinction (n = 92). Results Analyses revealed that both self-reported IU and STICSA similarly predicted differences in skin conductance response. Only individuals with lower IU/STICSA in the cognitive behavioural instruction condition displayed successful safety learning via skin conductance response. Conclusions These initial results provide some insight into how simple cognitive behavioural instructions combined with exposure are applied differently in individuals with varying levels of self-reported anxiety. The results further our understanding of the role of basic cognitive behavioural principles and self-reported anxiety in safety learning.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:91074


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