Author(s): Gibbons FX, Smith TW, Ingram RE, Pearce K, Brehm SS,
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Abstract Research in the area of self-awareness theory has indicated that self-focused attention consistently produces both an increase in perceived intensity of affect and enhanced accuracy of self-reports. The present studies consider these effects in relation to the technique of self-confrontation as used in psychotherapy. In the first study, members of two different clinical populations (alcoholics and general psychiatric patients) either were or were not made self-aware and then were asked to self-report on their psychiatric problems and their mood states. Results indicated that self-awareness did increase the negative mood states for the psychiatric patients, and it also apparently increased the accuracy with which both patient groups reported on their history of hospitalization. In the second study self-awareness once again exacerbated the reported negative affect of a group of depressed psychiatric patients and enhanced the accuracy with which they reported on their hospitalizations. Additional analyses indicated that although the psychiatric patients generally felt worse when self-aware, they were also more accurate in their self-reports, including descriptions of their problems. The effects of self-awareness on members of clinical population are discussed and related to self-confrontation techniques.
This article was published in J Pers Soc Psychol
and referenced in Journal of Psychology & Psychotherapy