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Title: Vulnerability to depression and cognitive bias modification
Author: Chan, Stella
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 3153
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2012
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Background and Aims. Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) has been found to be effective in promoting positive interpretations and mood in adults, including those with symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, only four studies have been conducted in adolescent populations. This study therefore aimed to further investigate the effects of CBM in adolescents, including those who have higher risk for developing depression by virtue of neuroticism. Method. This study adopted a between-groups experimental design across three time points. Seventy-four adolescents aged 16 – 18 were randomised into receiving either two sessions of CBM or control intervention. Their interpretation bias and mood were measured at baseline, immediately post-training and one week afterwards. Stress vulnerability was assessed using a novel experimental stressor; participants were also asked to report their daily mood and stressful events over one week. Feedback was collected. Results. The CBM group showed a greater reduction in negative affect than the control. In addition, the CBM group did not show the increase in state anxiety as seen in control participants. However, CBM did not show superior benefits in other outcome measures. Both groups displayed an increase in positive interpretations, a decrease in negative interpretations, and a reduction in depressive symptoms. The two groups did not differ in their responses to stress. Participants with higher scores on neuroticism showed higher levels of negative interpretation bias, mood symptoms and stress vulnerability. However, there was no evidence to suggest that neuroticism acts as a moderator of training effects. Feedback from participants was mostly positive. Conclusion. Overall, this study has not yielded strong supportive evidence for the use of CBM in healthy or vulnerable adolescents. Despite methodological limitations, this study has broadened the evidence base of CBM in adolescent populations. It also represents an important step in developing CBM as a preventive intervention for vulnerable adolescents.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available