Modifying adolescent interpretation biases through cognitive training: effects on negative affect and stress appraisals.
Telman MD., Holmes EA., Lau JYF.
Adolescent anxiety is common, impairing and costly. Given the scale of adolescent anxiety and its impact, fresh innovations for therapy are in demand. Cognitive Bias Modification of Interpretations (CBM-I) studies of adults show that by training individuals to endorse benign interpretations of ambiguous situations can improve anxious mood-states particularly in response towards stress. While, these investigations have been partially extended to adolescents with success, inconsistent training effects on anxious mood-states have been found. The present study investigated whether positive versus negative CBM-I training influenced appraisals of stress, in forty-nine adolescents, aged 15-18. Data supported the plasticity of interpretational styles, with positively-trained adolescents selecting more benign resolutions of new ambiguous situations, than negatively-trained adolescents. Positively-trained adolescents also rated recent stressors as having less impact on their lives than negatively-trained adolescents. Thus, while negative styles may increase negative responses towards stress, positive styles may boost resilience.