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Multisession Cognitive Bias Modification targeting multiple biases in adolescents with elevated social anxiety

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Stephen Lisk, Victoria Jane Devereux Pile, Simone P. W. Haller, Veena Kumari, Yun Fai Lau

Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Early online date27 Apr 2018
DOIs
Accepted/In press11 Apr 2018
E-pub ahead of print27 Apr 2018

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Abstract

Research studies applying Cognitive Bias Modification of Attention (CBM-A) and Interpretations (CBM-I) training to reduce adolescent anxiety by targeting associated cognitive biases have found mixed results. This study presents a new multi-session, combined bias CBM package, which uses a mix of training techniques and stimuli to enhance user-engagement. We present preliminary data on its viability, acceptability and effectiveness on reducing symptoms and biases using an A-B case series design. 19 adolescents with elevated social anxiety reported on their social anxiety, real-life social behaviours, general anxiety, depression, and cognitive biases at pre/post time-points during a two-week baseline phase and a two-week intervention phase. Retention rate was high. Adolescents also reported finding the CBM training helpful, particularly CBM-I. Greater reductions in social anxiety, negative social behaviour, and general anxiety and depression, characterised the intervention but not baseline phase. There was a significant correlation between interpretation bias change and social anxiety symptom change. Our enhanced multi-session CBM programme delivered in a school-setting appeared viable and acceptable. Training-associated improvements in social anxiety will require further verification in a study with an active control condition/group.

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