Examining reward-seeking, negative self-beliefs and over-general autobiographical memory as mechanisms of change in classroom prevention programs for adolescent depression

Rice, Frances, Rawal, Adhip, Riglin, Lucy, Lewis, Gemma, Lewis, Glyn and Duismuir, Sandra (2015) Examining reward-seeking, negative self-beliefs and over-general autobiographical memory as mechanisms of change in classroom prevention programs for adolescent depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 186. pp. 320-327. ISSN 0165-0327

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Abstract

Background: Effective methods to prevent adolescent depressive symptoms could reduce suffering and
burden across the lifespan. However, psychological interventions delivered to adolescents show efficacy
only in symptomatic or high-risk youth. Targeting causal risk factors and assessing mechanistic change
can help devise efficacious universal or classroom based prevention programs.
Methods: A non-randomized longitudinal design was used to compare three classroom-based prevention
programs for adolescent depression (Behavioral Activation with Reward Processing, “Thinking about
Reward in Young People” (TRY); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive
Therapy (MBCT)), and determine cognitive mechanisms of change in these programs. Cognitive mechanisms
examined were reward-seeking, negative self-beliefs (assessed with behavioral tasks) and
over-general autobiographical memory. 256 healthy adolescents aged 13–14 participated with 236 (92%)
and 227 (89%) completing the pre- and post-assessments.
Results: TRY was the only intervention associated with a reduction in depressive symptoms at follow-up.
Reward-seeking increased following TRY. In the other programs there were non-significant changes in
cognitive mechanisms, with more reflective negative self-beliefs in CBT and fewer over-general autobiographical
memories in MBCT In the TRY program, which focused on increasing sensitivity to rewarding
activities, reward seeking increased and this was associated with decreased depressive symptoms.
Limitations: Due to the infeasibility of a cluster randomized controlled trial, a non-randomized design
was used.
Conclusions: Increased reward-seeking was associated with decreased depressive symptoms and may be
a mechanism of depressive symptom change in the intervention with a focus on enhancing sensitivity
and awareness of reward. This study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that incorporating activities
to enhance reward sensitivity may be fruitful in randomized controlled trials of universal prevention
programs for depression

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Reward; Autobiographical memory; Negative beliefs; Prevention; Depression; Adolescence
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2015 07:40
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 11:40
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/55801

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