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Internet-based Cognitive Bias Modification of Interpretations in patients with anxiety disorders : A randomised controlled trial

By Elske Salemink, Merel Kindt, Henk Rienties and Marcel Van Den Hout


Background and objectives Previous research suggests that negative interpretation biases stimulate anxiety. As patients with an anxiety disorder tend to interpret ambiguous information negatively, it was hypothesised that training more positive interpretations reduces negative interpretation biases and emotional problems. Methods In a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, patients with different anxiety disorders were trained online over eight days to either generate positive interpretations of ambiguous social scenarios (n = 18) or to generate 50% positive and 50% negative interpretations in the placebo control condition (n = 18) (Study 1). Results Positively trained patients made more positive interpretations and less negative ones than control patients. This training was followed by a decrease in anxiety, depression, and general psychological distress, but this effect was also observed in the control group. To get a better understanding of these unexpected results, we tested a 100% neutral placebo control group (Study 2, n = 19); now the scenarios described neutral, non-emotional situations and no valenced interpretations were generated. The results from this neutral group were comparable to the effects from the other control group. Limitations An advantage, but potentially also a disadvantage of the study is that CBM-I training was performed online with less control over the procedures and setting. In addition, the scenarios were not matched to the specific concerns of each patient and the training sessions were performed in close proximity to one another. Conclusions Compared to both control conditions, CBM-I had superior effects on interpretations, but not on emotions. The current findings showed the boundary conditions for CBM-I. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Topics: Anxiety disorders, Cognitive Bias Modification of Interpretations, Internet-based, Psychiatry and Mental health, Experimental and Cognitive Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Year: 2014
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