Hidden Complications of Thought Suppression

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Hidden Complications of Thought Suppression

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dc.contributor.author Najmi, Sadia
dc.contributor.author Wegner, Daniel M.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-28T15:46:05Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.citation Najmi, Sadia and Daniel M. Wegner. 2009. Hidden complications of thought suppression. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy 2(3): 210-223. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1937-1209 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:9961303
dc.description.abstract Although the suppression of thoughts may seem to be an effective solution, this strategy can lead to an exacerbation of the very thought that one is attempting to suppress. This ironic effect is the most obvious unwanted outcome of suppression and has now been investigated empirically for more than two decades. However, the fact that suppression is an effortful process implies that, even when suppression does not lead to an ironic rebound of the unwanted thought, it puts an insidious cognitive load on the individual attempting to suppress. Moreover, whether or not suppression leads to an exacerbation of the unwanted thought, it is rarely successful, and hence adds to the individual's distress. In this article we describe the phenomenon of suppression and consider how it might complicate a range of emotional disorders. Taken together, studies on thought suppression in psychopathology present a more nuanced picture now than was emerging in the early years of its investigation. Some evidence is consistent with the idea that the counterproductive effects of suppression are causally implicated in the disorder, but for the most part a more parsimonious conclusion is that thought suppression acts as a complication of the disorder. In certain disorders, suppression complicates the disorder by leading to an ironic rebound of the unwanted thoughts. In all disorders, the cost of undertaking suppression is a persistent cognitive load, which, in turn undermines the ability to suppress, and hence sets off a cycle of failed expectations and distress. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Psychology en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Guilford Press en_US
dc.relation.isversionof doi:10.1521/ijct.2009.2.3.210 en_US
dash.license OAP
dc.title Hidden Complications of Thought Suppression en_US
dc.type Journal Article en_US
dc.description.version Accepted Manuscript en_US
dc.relation.journal International Journal of Cognitive Therapy en_US
dash.depositing.author Wegner, Daniel M.
dc.date.available 2012-11-28T15:46:05Z

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  • FAS Scholarly Articles [7470]
    Peer reviewed scholarly articles from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University

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