The Role of Fear-Avoidance Cognitions and Behaviors in Patients with Chronic Tinnitus
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
The current study investigated the role of fear-avoidance—a concept from chronic pain research—in chronic tinnitus. A self-report measure the “Tinnitus Fear-Avoidance Cognitions and Behaviors Scale (T-FAS)” was developed and validated. Furthermore, the role of fear-avoidance behavior as mediator of the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and tinnitus handicap was investigated. From a clinical setting, N = 373 patients with chronic tinnitus completed questionnaires assessing tinnitus handicap (Tinnitus Handicap Inventory), anxiety, depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale), anxiety sensitivity (Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3), personality factors (Big Five Inventory-10), and fear-avoidance. To analyze the psychometric properties, principal component analysis with parallel component extraction and correlational analyses were used. To examine a possible mediating effect, hierarchical regression analysis was applied. The principal component analysis resulted in a three-factor solution: Fear-avoidance Cognitions, Tinnitus-related Fear-Avoidance Behavior, and Ear-related Fear-Avoidance Behavior. Internal consistency was satisfactory for the total scale and all subscales. High correlations between tinnitus-related handicap scales, depressive and anxiety symptoms, and the T-FAS were found, whereas associations with personality factors were low. Moreover, results indicate a significant partial mediation of fear-avoidance behaviors in the relationship between anxiety sensitivity and the cognitive dimension of tinnitus handicap. Results show that fear-avoidance behavior plays an important role in tinnitus handicap. More attention should be paid to this concept in research and clinical practice of psychotherapy for chronic tinnitus.
Kleinstäuber, M., Jasper, K., Schweda, I., Hiller, W., Andersson, G., & Weise, C. (2013). The role of fear-avoidance cognitions and behaviors in patients with chronic tinnitus. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 42, 84-99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16506073.2012.717301