Using two modes of intervention delivery, the present study compared the effects of a cognitive defusion strategy with a thought distraction strategy on the emotional discomfort and believability of negative self-referential thoughts. One mode of intervention delivery consisted of a clinical rationale and training (i.e., Partial condition). The other mode contained a condition-specific experiential exercise with the negative self-referential thought in addition to the clinical rationale and training (i.e., Full condition). Non-clinical undergraduates were randomly assigned to one of five protocols: Partial-Defusion, Full-Defusion, Partial-Distraction, Full-Distraction, and a distraction-based experimental control task. The Full-Defusion condition reduced the emotional discomfort and believability of negative self-referential thoughts significantly greater than other comparison conditions. The positive results of the Full-Defusion condition were also found among participants with elevated depressive symptoms.
Masuda, Akihiko; Feinstein, A. B.; Wendell, J. W.; and Sheehan, S. T., "Cognitive Defusion Versus Thought Distraction: A Clinical Rationale, Training, and Experiential Exercise in Altering Psychological Impacts of Negative Self-Referential Thoughts." (2010). Psychology Faculty Publications. Paper 84.