Reduction of children's fear of the dark by competence-related and situational threat-related verbal cues

Frederick H. Kanfer, Paul Karoly, Alexander Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

Examined the effects of training children in the use of verbal controlling responses for darkness tolerance. 45 5-6-yr olds rehearsed 1 of 3 types of "mediating response": (a) sentences emphasizing the S's active control or competence, (b) sentences concentrating on reducing the aversive qualities of the stimulus situation, and (c) neutral sentences. Ss were trained in a well-lit room. Each S then remained in total darkness until he or she decided to increase the illumination. The duration of tolerance of darkness and terminal light intensity were assessed across 1 pretest and 2 posttraining trials. On a generalization trial the S was to reduce full illumination. Analyses revealed that differential training significantly influenced duration and intensity settings, with the "competence" group generally superior to the "stimulus" and "neutral" verbalization groups. Alternate interpretations of the findings are offered. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1975
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • competence-related &
  • situational threat-related verbal cues, darkness tolerance, 5-6 yr olds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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