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The effects of acceptance versus thought suppression for dealing with the intrusiveness of tinnitus
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Clinical and Social Psychology. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4753-6745
2008 (English)In: International Journal of Audiology, ISSN 1499-2027, Vol. 47, S112-S118 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of acceptance versus suppression of disruptions on a mental imagery task in a sample of tinnitus patients. Previous research has indicated that acceptance can be an effective strategy for dealing with unpleasant experiences such as pain and anxiety. The study used a between-group design, including 47 participants who completed a task involving mental imagery in a sound-proof booth. Participants were randomly assigned to three instruction conditions: acceptance, suppression, or a control condition. The results showed a significant difference between the acceptance group and the control group in that participants in the acceptance group were able to focus on the imagery task for a longer time without being interrupted. The study provides preliminary support for the notion that acceptance can be a helpful strategy for tinnitus patients.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 47, S112-S118 p.
Keyword [en]
Tinnitus, Acceptance, Thought suppression
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16151DOI: 10.1080/14992020802301688OAI: diva2:133239
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-07 Last updated: 2014-11-28
In thesis
1. Tinnitus – an acceptance-based approach
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tinnitus – an acceptance-based approach
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Tinnitus – en acceptansinriktad ansats
Abstract [en]

Tinnitus is a highly prevalent health condition creating moderate or severe interference on mood, sleep and daily functioning for a group of those affected. The aims of this thesis were 1) to explore the role of acceptance and psychological flexibility in understanding tinnitus interference both experimentally and with a longitudinal design 2) to evaluate the immediate and long-term outcomes of an acceptance based behaviour therapy (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; ACT) in the treatment of people with tinnitus and, 3) to investigate the relationship between treatment outcome and processes assumed to be the active ingredients of treatment (acceptance and cognitive defusion).

Study I (n=47) was an experiment comparing the impact of acceptance to that of thought suppression or a neutral instruction on the ability to maintain attention on an imagery task. Results indicated that participants could benefit from an acceptance strategy when performing the task. Study II (n=47) was a longitudinal trial studying the mediating role of acceptance on the relationship between tinnitus interference at baseline and tinnitus interference, anxiety, life quality, and depression at a seven-month follow-up. Full mediation was found for life quality and depression, and partial mediation for tinnitus interference. Study IV (n=64) was a randomised controlled trial evaluating the immediate and long-term effects of ACT in comparison to those of Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) and to a wait list control. Results showed that ACT had large immediate effects on tinnitus interference in comparison to wait list, and medium long-term effects in comparison to TRT. Results were also seen on secondary outcome. Self-reported tinnitus acceptance significantly mediated the immediate outcome of ACT. Study III (n=24) was a process study where the video recorded sessions of ACT from study IV were observed and rated with regard to client behaviour. Results showed that in-session acceptance and defusion behaviours rated early in therapy were predictors of sustained positive treatment effects of ACT. These associations continued to be substantial even when controlling for the prior improvement in outcome. This whereas prior symptom change could not predict process variables rated late in therapy. Participants in all trials were chronic tinnitus patients, mainly from different departments of audiology. These findings implicate that 1) acceptance and psychological flexibility may contribute to the understanding of tinnitus interference 2) ACT can reduce tinnitus interference in a group of normal hearing tinnitus patients and 3) acceptance and cognitive defusion are important processes in ACT, related to outcome.

Abstract [sv]

Tinnitus är ett mycket vanligt hälsoproblem där en grupp av de drabbade upplever påtagliga besvär såsom påverkan på sömn, välbefinnande och funktionsnivå. Denna avhandlings syften var att 1) utforska den roll acceptans och psykologisk flexibilitet har för förståelsen av tinnitusbesvär såväl experimentellt som med en longitudinell design 2) utvärdera de omedelbara och långsiktiga effekterna av en acceptansinriktad beteendeterapi (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy; ACT) vid behandling av personer med tinnitus samt 3) undersöka relationen mellan behandlingsutfall och processer som antas utgöra behandlingens aktiva komponenter (acceptans och kognitiv defusion).

Studie I (n=47) var ett experiment där man jämförde förmågan att bibehålla uppmärksamheten på en mental bild vid tre olika betingelser: acceptans, tankesuppression eller en neutral betingelse. Resultaten indikerade att deltagarna som slumpats till acceptans var hjälpta av denna strategi i genomförandet av uppgiften. Studie II (n=47) var en självrapportstudie med longitudinell design där det undersöktes om acceptans fungerade som en mediator i sambandet mellan tinnitusbesvär i baslinjen och livskvalitet, depression, ångest och tinnitusbesvär vid en uppföljning efter sju månader. För variablerna livskvalitet och depression visade resultaten en fullständig mediation och för tinnitusbesvär en partiell mediation. Studie IV (n=64) var en randomiserad kontrollerad prövning av de omedelbara och långsiktiga effekterna av ACT i jämförelse med Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT) och en väntelistekontrollgrupp. Resultaten visade att ACT hade en stor omedelbar effekt på tinnitusbesvär i jämförelse med väntelistan och en medelstor effekt i jämförelse med TRT. Även sekundära utfallsmått visade på effekter. Utfallet i ACT medierades av självrapporterad acceptans av tinnitus. Studie III (n=24) studerade processer i ACT-behandlingen genom observation och skattning av klientbeteenden under de videoinspelade sessionerna. Resultaten visade att klienternas acceptans- och defusionbeteende under sessioner tidigt i terapin predicerade det långsiktiga utfallet i behandlingen. Dessa samband kvarstod även när man kontrollerade för symtomförbättring fram till den skattade sessionen. Detta medan tidigare symtomförbättring inte predicerade klientbeteende senare i behandling. Deltagare i samtliga studier var patienter med kronisk tinnitus, huvudsakligen rekryterade från reguljär hörselvård. Resultaten från dessa studier indikerar att 1) acceptans och psykologisk flexibilitet kan bidra till förståelsen av tinnitusbesvär 2) ACT kan minska tinnitusbesvär hos en grupp normalhörande patienter 3) acceptans och kognitiv defusion är viktiga processer i ACT vilka är relaterade till behandlingutfallet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2011. 84 + appendices 1-4 p.
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 547Studies from the Swedish Institute for Disability Research, ISSN 1650-1128 ; 40
Tinnitus, tinnitus interference, acceptance, defusion, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Tinnitus, tinnitusbesvär, acceptans, defusion, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-71845 (URN)978-­91-­7393-­040-­6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-18, sal 1, Hus Key, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-11-07 Created: 2011-11-07 Last updated: 2014-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Westin, VendelaAndersson , Gerhard
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