Exposure therapy outcome in spider phobics: effects of monitoring and blunting coping styles

Behav Res Ther. 1995 May;33(4):461-4. doi: 10.1016/0005-7967(94)00058-r.


The present study examined whether monitoring (i.e. seeking out threat-related information) and blunting (i.e., avoiding threat-related information) coping styles affect therapy outcome. The sample consisted of 36 spider phobics who underwent one 2.5 hr session of exposure in vivo. Monitoring and blunting were assessed with the Miller Behavioural Style Scale (MBSS) at two points in time: before and after (i.e. at 2 years follow-up) treatment. It was found that coping styles did not change dramatically over a 2-year period. Furthermore, pre-treatment and follow-up coping style scores essentially produced the same results: monitoring was associated with less favourable therapy outcome, whereas blunting was related to better treatment results.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Arousal
  • Attention*
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Desensitization, Psychologic / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Personality Inventory
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology
  • Phobic Disorders / therapy*
  • Spiders*
  • Treatment Outcome