Context matters: criticism and accommodation by close others associated with treatment attitudes in those with anxiety
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Background: Many people with anxiety do not seek therapy due to negative views of treatment. Although close others (e.g. romantic partners, family members, close friends) are highly involved in treatment decisions, the role of specific relational behaviours in treatment ambivalence has yet to be studied. Aims: This study examines the relationship between social predictors (perceived criticism and accommodation of anxiety symptoms by close others) and treatment ambivalence. Method: Community members who met diagnostic criteria for an anxiety-related disorder (N=65) and students who showed high levels of anxiety (N=307) completed an online study. They were asked to imagine they were considering starting cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for their anxiety and complete a measure of treatment ambivalence accordingly. They then completed measures of perceived criticism and accommodation by close others. Linear regression was used to examine the predictive value of these variables while controlling for sample type (clinical/analogue) and therapy experience. Results: Greater reactivity to criticism from close others and greater accommodation of anxiety symptoms by close others were associated with greater treatment ambivalence in those with anxiety. These predictors remained significant even when controlling for therapy history and sample type. Conclusions: When it comes to treatment attitudes, relational context matters. Clients demonstrating ambivalence about starting therapy may benefit from discussion about the impact of their social environment on ambivalence.
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Olivia Merritt, Karen Rowa, Christine Purdon (2022). Context matters: criticism and accommodation by close others associated with treatment attitudes in those with anxiety. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18915
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