Blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia is associated with avoidance of needed medical treatment. Exposure therapy lessens distress related to viewing BII stimuli. However, service users with BII phobia are often reluctant to engage in exposures. This study assessed whether the cognitive heuristic of anchoring could encourage completion of and lessen the distress associated with exposures to BII stimuli. 141 college students were randomly assigned an anchoring point that was intended to make them either more or less distressed during and before their exposure to BII stimuli. No significant differences in outcomes between groups were detected. Though the study was underpowered, its results do not suggest promise for anchoring as a therapeutic tool.
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