Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Thought Suppression

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_867-1



Thought suppression refers to the mental process of consciously attempting to avoid thinking about a particular thought. Attempts at thought suppression occur regularly in daily life but are especially frequent in individuals suffering from psychopathological conditions which are often associated with high levels of distressing thoughts. There are several strategies that can be adopted to suppress a thought, including distraction (i.e., trying to think of another, more positive topic or to engage in some pleasant activity), social control (i.e., discussing the distressing thought with another person), and re-appraisal (i.e., analyzing the thought rationally and trying to reinterpret it; Wells and Davies 1994). Ultimately, none of the strategies seems to be very successful; the paradox is that the more people intend to get rid of their thoughts, the less control they seem to exert over them...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychological ScienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Patrizia Velotti
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational SciencesUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly