Effects of debiasing on pessimistic predictions: A comparison of clinically anxious inpatients and non-anxious college students

Barfield, Stephanie
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Previous research has indicated that the Consider-An-Alternative debiasing procedure, which prompts individuals to generate positive alternatives to hypothetical events, reduced pessimistic judgmental predictions associated with anxiety. The purpose of this study was to expand the investigation of this procedure to include clinically anxious individuals and add a follow-up component. This investigation was achieved via archival data, which included clinical participants from an in-patient psychiatric hospital and undergraduate participants from a large public university in the Southwest. All participants had been randomly assigned to either a control or debiasing group. After completing the trait portion of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger et al., 1970), they participated in a pre-test where they were asked to rate the likelihood of hypothetical events. After participating in either the debiasing or control exercises, they were administered a posttest and a follow-up one week later. While results supported previous findings that highly anxious individuals generate more pessimistic predictions of future events than their non-anxious counterparts, the current study did not find the debiasing procedure to make significant improvements in pessimistic predictions at the posttest measure and one-week follow-up.

Psychology, Anxiety, College students, Debiasing, Inpatients, Pessimistic