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02-07-2015 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2015

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2015

Measuring Beliefs About Distraction: Might the Function of Distraction Matter More than Distraction Itself?

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2015
Jessica M. Senn, Adam S. Radomsky


Distraction is often discouraged in exposure therapy for anxiety disorders, but little is known about how beliefs about distraction may impact treatment outcome (with or without distraction). One barrier to understanding the impact of these beliefs is the lack of an available measure to assess this construct. In addition to proposing a theoretical basis for beliefs about distraction, we created and validated a questionnaire assessing maladaptive beliefs about distraction, the Beliefs about Distraction Inventory. An exploratory factor analysis with an unselected student sample (N = 506, 86 % female) suggested a two-factor solution, conceptualized as “distraction is necessary”, and “distraction is effective”. A confirmatory factor analysis using a contamination-fearful sample (N = 132, 87 % female) demonstrated adequate model fit. In both samples, the measure exhibited strong reliability and validity. Preliminary findings revealed that beliefs that “distraction is necessary” were more strongly associated with anxious psychopathology than beliefs that “distraction is effective”. Results are discussed in terms of cognitive-behavioural theories and therapies for anxiety and related disorders.

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