According to the Ironic Process Theory (Wegner, 1994) the suppression of emotionally relevant thoughts leads to a paradoxical increase of thought intrusions (during and after suppression) and corresponding emotional states. However, this hypothesis has not been sufficiently tested on clinical populations. The goal of the present study was to examine the effects of suppressing a personally relevant (i.e. anxious) thought in a sample of clinically anxious subjects. Our results support the idea that thought suppression leads to an increased frequency of the target thought and to an escalation of anxious mood. Potential implications are discussed.
KEYWORDS: thought suppression, anxiety, ironic effects