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Negative appraisals maintain intrusive memories and intrusion-distress in depression, but treatment is underdeveloped. This study compared the efficacy of computerised bias modification positive appraisal training (CBM) versus a therapist-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy session (CB-Education) that both aimed to target and alter negative appraisals of a negative intrusive autobiographical memory. Dysphoric participants (Mean BDI-II = 27.85; N = 60) completed baseline ratings of a negative intrusive memory, negative appraisals and the Impact of Event Scale, and were randomly allocated either one session of CBM, CB-Education, or a no intervention monitoring control condition (Control). Mood and intrusion symptoms were assessed at one week follow-up. For all groups, there were significant reductions over one week in mood (depression and anxiety), memory intrusiveness and negative appraisals. Groups differed in terms of intrusion-related distress, with the CB-Education group showing greatest reduction, followed by the CBM group. The study provides evidence for the link between maladaptive appraisals of intrusive memories and distress in depressed mood. Further, both a single session of CB-Education and (to a lesser degree) CBM are useful in reducing intrusion-related distress. This study may have been underpowered to detect differences and replication is needed with larger samples.

Original publication




Journal article


Behav Res Ther

Publication Date





60 - 67


Cognitive behaviour therapy, Cognitive bias modification, Depression, Imagery, Intrusive memory, Memory, Thoughts, Adult, Affect, Cognitive Therapy, Depression, Female, Humans, Male, Medical Records, Memory, Episodic, Psychiatric Status Rating Scales, Symptom Assessment, Therapy, Computer-Assisted, Young Adult