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27-04-2018 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2018 Open Access

Cognitive Therapy and Research 5/2018

Multisession Cognitive Bias Modification Targeting Multiple Biases in Adolescents with Elevated Social Anxiety

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 5/2018
Stephen C. Lisk, Victoria Pile, Simone P. W. Haller, Veena Kumari, Jennifer Y. F. Lau


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 2-week baseline phase and a 2-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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