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09-07-2020 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2020

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2020

Cognitive Control Training as an Augmentation Strategy to CBT in the Treatment of Fear of Failure in Undergraduates

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2020
Nathan Van den Bergh, Sarah Vermeersch, Kristof Hoorelbeke, Jasmien Vervaeke, Rudi De Raedt, Ernst H. W. Koster
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10608-020-10129-w) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Previous research in the context of depression indicates that Cognitive Control Training (CCT) has the potential to reduce maladaptive emotion regulation, such as rumination. However, as a stand-alone intervention, CCT does not seem to increase adaptive emotion regulation. We examined whether CCT combined with a traditional fear of failure intervention program would improve emotion regulation and psychopathology symptoms.


102 students participating in a group-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) program targeting fear of failure were randomized to CCT or active placebo conditions, performing ten 15-min sessions of the adaptive Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task or an adaptive speed-of-response task, respectively. Primary outcome measures were Repetitive Negative Thinking (RNT) and symptoms related to depression, anxiety and stress. Secondary outcomes included adaptive cognitive emotion regulation strategies.


Task-specific cognitive transfer was observed in the CCT condition. In both conditions, RNT and symptoms were reduced. In contrast to our hypotheses, the CCT condition did not significantly differ from the active control condition in terms of treatment effects.


The current study is among the first to investigate the added value of combining CCT with CBT in an anxious sample. CCT did not augment effects of a CBT-based fear of failure treatment.

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