Irrational Beliefs and Unconditional Self-Acceptance. II. Experimental Evidence for a Causal Link between Two Key Features of REBT

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In a test of two key features of REBT, causal relationships between irrational beliefs and unconditional self-acceptance were experimentally investigated in a sample of 106 non-clinical participants using a priming technique. Priming participants with statements of irrational belief resulted in a decrease in unconditional self-acceptance whereas priming participants with statements of rational belief resulted in an increase in unconditional self-acceptance. In contrast, priming participants with statements about unconditional self-acceptance did not result in an increase in rational thinking and priming participants with statements about conditional self-acceptance did not result in an increase in irrational thinking. The present study is the first to provide evidence of a causal link between rational/irrational thinking and unconditional/conditional self-acceptance. The findings have important implications for the core hypothesis of REBT and underscore the advantages of experimental over correlational studies in theory-testing.

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