Alleviating distressing intrusive memories in depression: a comparison between computerised cognitive bias modification and cognitive behavioural education.
Newby JM., Lang T., Werner-Seidler A., Holmes E., Moulds ML.
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.