A controlled study of sensation awareness and verbal disclosure
Scholle, Stephen Roger
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This study investigates the proposition that distinguishing, describing and disclosing internal experience facilitates self-regulatory capacity. It is particularly suggested that distinctness of sensation experience and level of expression, from silence to disclosure, interact in the regulation of arousal and mood states. This suggestion is predicated on cognitive-developmental and social-regulator theories.;An experiment was conducted comparing levels of expression from silence through talking-without-a-listener to disclosure, while self-directed attention was manipulated for somatic versus general awareness. Following a stimulus, disclosure of distinct sensations was expected to reduce State Anxiety and increase in Energetic Arousal (as measured by the ADACL) significantly more than disclosure of thoughts and feelings. Interaction effects were predicted.;Based on a randomly-assigned sample of 120 men from a university population, the results of 3 x 2 ANCOVAs indicated significant interaction effects in the predicted directions for Energetic Arousal and near-significant interaction effects for State Anxiety for pretest-anxious subjects. T-tests confirmed the between-group differences.;These results indicate that silence may be more self-regulating when there is less access to distinct sensory experience while disclosure may be more self-regulating when there is greater access in attention to such experience.;Treatment implications relating to cognitive-behavioral, relaxation-meditative and psychodynamic modalities are discussed.