A model of anxiety reduction which conceives anxiety as an emotional response. The extinction model is based on the idea that anxiety is elicited through a process of classical conditioning by stimuli that were originally neutral. Because of pairing with painful or aversive stimuli (which thereby act as unconditioned stimuli), the neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus capable of eliciting a conditioned reflex. For example, a horse rider thrown during a race who suffers painful fractures may later find that riding a horse elicits intense anxiety. The anxiety is reduced by exposing the sufferer to anxiety-arousing stimuli in the absence of the primary aversive stimuli in the expectation that the anxiety will be eliminated by extinction.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.