Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Nelson F. Smith


A review of the literature in response prevention revealed that the technique is generally considered to reduce fear but that proper assessment of the persistence of fear reduction was lacking. Previous studies attempting to measure the durability of fear reduction either failed to control for potential confounds in within subjects designs or used problematic fear assessment techniques. The purpose of this study was to assess the stability of fear reduction using improved fear assessment procedures and random groups design strategies.

One hundred and fifty albino rats were randomly assigned to receive or not receive response prevention or to act as control subjects with no avoidance training. Ten subjects from each treatment condition were randomly assigned to be tested for fear at either 0, 3, 27, 81 or 243 hours after the treatment phase, Fear was measured by the approach methodologies, approach latency and number of safety tests.

Results consistent with previous findings indicated that while fear was reduced it was not completely eliminated following treatment with response prevention. Most important, and contrary to the findings of previous research using within subjects designs and less sensitive fear assessment techniques, were results suggesting that the fear reduction resulting from response prevention was stable over a 10 day period. Implications for therapy analogues were discussed.



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