Internet-delivered interpretation training reduces worry and anxiety in individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: a randomized controlled experiment

Hirsch, Colette R, Krahé, Charlotte, Whyte, Jessica, Krzyzanowski, Hannah, Meeten, Frances, Norton, Sam and Mathews, Andrew (2021) Internet-delivered interpretation training reduces worry and anxiety in individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: a randomized controlled experiment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 89 (7). pp. 575-589. ISSN 0022-006X

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Objective: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a debilitating condition, characterized by negative interpretations about ambiguous situations. This study tested whether entirely internet-delivered interpretation training [cognitive bias modification (CBM)] versus control promotes positive interpretations and reduces worry and anxiety in individuals with GAD, with or without depression.

Method: A two-arm (CBM; control) parallel-group randomized controlled experiment. Assessments were preintervention (T0), postintervention (T1), 1-month (T2) postintervention, and 3-month (T3) postintervention. Participants with GAD (with or without comorbid depression) were randomly allocated to either CBM (n = 115) or control (n = 115). Participants, but not researchers, were blind to allocated condition. Participants completed up to 10 online CBM or control sessions across 1 month. Interpretation bias [coprimary outcomes: scrambled sentence test (SST), recognition test (RT)], and number of negative thought intrusions during a breathing focus task were measured at T0 and T1. Self-reported levels of worry [Penn State Worry Questionnaire-trait (PSWQ trait); Penn State Worry Questionnaire-past week (PSWQ weekly)], anxiety [Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD-7)], depression [Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)], rumination [Ruminative Response Scale (RRS)], and repetitive negative thinking [RNT; Repetitive Thinking Questionnaire-trait (RTQ-trait)] were assessed at T0–T3.

Results: The per-protocol analyses included N = 186 participants (CBM n = 94; control n = 92). As predicted, we found moderate-to-large training effects on the primary outcome of interpretation bias at T1. Secondary outcomes of negative thought intrusions at T1 and self-reported symptoms at T2 were all significantly lower in the CBM versus control condition. All but one effect (trait RNT) were sustained at T3.

Conclusions: In this randomized controlled study, we found that fully online interpretation training ameliorated core features of GAD in individuals with or without comorbid depression up to 3 months posttraining.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2021 07:41
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2021 16:00

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