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Title: Synchronous change in subjective and physiological reactivity during flight as an indicator of treatment outcome for aviophobia: A longitudinal study with 3-year follow-up
Author(s): B. Busscher, P. Spinhoven and E. J. de Geus
Journal: Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry
Year: 2020
Volume: 67
Pages: 101443
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2018.12.004
File URL: /vuams-pubs/Synchronous change in subjective and ph...pdf
Keywords: Anxiety, Fear of flying, Physiological reactivity, Emotion regulation, Exposure in vivo, Synchrony
Abstract: Background and objectives:Emotion can be seen as the organizing process that coordinates response systems todeal effectively with challenges and opportunities. Synchronous change in subjective and physiological re-activity is regarded as an indication of this organizing process. Synchrony is expected to increase with theintensity of emotional stimuli. Conversely, adaptive emotional functioning could be indicated by progressivesynchrony upon increasing demands, and the magnitude of synchrony could be an indication of progress duringtherapy.Methods:We examined whether synchronous change in subjective and physiological reactivity over repeatedexposures increased from watching a flight video through simulated flight to actual flight, and whether themagnitude of synchronous change predicted favourable short- and long-term treatment outcome within a groupof 77 aviophobic participants during CBT.Results:Results did not show a relationship between the intensity of the phobic stimuli and the magnitude ofsynchronous change in subjective and physiological reactivity. Moreover, synchronous change across both re-sponse systems did not predict treatment outcome.Limitations:By design this study had no control group. Additional treatment or life events between end oftreatment and 3-year follow-up were not assessed.Conclusion:The results provide only weak support for the functionalistic view that successful treatment of an-xiety disorders is indicated by synchronous change in reactivity across emotional response systems. The re-lationship between these systems is likely to be affected by many intervening variables including higher ordercognitive processes.

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