Maladaptive cognitive styles confer vulnerability for emotional disorders and may emerge in childhood. In three phases, we developed and evaluated a novel parent-led intervention (My Memory Forest) to target overgeneral memory and avoidance of negative memories. In phase 1, the intervention was co-designed using two focus groups (n = 30 children) and consultation with teachers and parents. The acceptability, feasibility, and clinical potential of My Memory Forest was initially evaluated in phase two (n = 12 children aged 6 to 9) and then in a feasibility randomised controlled trial in phase three, against an active control (n = 56 aged 6 to 9). Acceptability and engagement were good, and no harm was reported by parents or participants. Phase 2 identified decreases in self-reported anxiety (d = 1.08), depression (d = 0.51) and vividness of negative events (d = 0.53). There was little change in parent-reported symptoms. In phase 3, recruitment was highly feasible and participant retention excellent (100%) but parent retention poor (55%). Descriptive statistics indicated similar changes in anxiety and depression for both groups. Changes between Phases 2 and 3 (e.g. methods of recruitment) could explain the discrepancy between results. Further development is necessary before proceeding to another trial. Trial registration: ISRCTN13142918.
- Autobiographical memory
- Mental imagery