Saturday, January 31, 2009

Phobic drivers go to class to learn mastery of fear


AUTHOR: Glenn Ruffenach
PUBLICATION: The Wall Street Journal, 1990


SUMMARY: A journalist account of Charles Melville's group treatment course for driving anxiety. Interesting quotes:

"Fears links to driving may be the most common."

"Heredity seems to be part of the problem, but no one is immune...."

"Most of the nine seated around Mr. Melville had their first attach while driving. It occurred for no apparent reason."

"Mr. Melville ... says such attacks are often an "accumulation of life stresses"."

The treatment seems to be primarily systematic desensitization.

MY THOUGHTS: If driving anxiety has genetic (biological) input, occurred spontaneously (no initiating assocation with an unconditioned stressor), and in response to generalised stress (operant conditioning?)--why is the treatment based on the idea of Pavlovian conditioning?

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: The article concentrates on one participant who recovered fully... but what happened to the other nine? This is why I generally focus on peer-reviewed scientific reports.

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