Attentional Bias Modification Training for Patients with Generalised Anxiety Disorder: a Randomised Controlled Study
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AbstractBackground: Hypervigilance to threat is a mechanism contributing to generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Although attentional bias modification training (ABMT) is designed to reduce attention to threat, its use as a mechanistically focused psychological intervention for GAD has not been examined. We aimed to investigate the effect of a brief ABMT on reducing anxiety, worry, and attentional bias in outpatients with GAD, and to determine the association between change in attentional bias and changes in anxiety and worry.

Methods: This was a parallel-group, double-blind, randomised controlled trial. Patients with GAD who had no changes after medication treatment for the past 8 weeks were randomly allocated to either the treatment or control group to receive 4 weekly sessions of ABMT or sham ABMT, respectively, in addition to standard care. Anxiety was measured using the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale and the State- Trait Anxiety Inventory – trait anxiety subscale. Pathological worry was measured using the Penn State Worry Questionnaire. Attentional bias was measured using the bias score.

Results: A total of 33 participants were allocated to the treatment (n = 17) or control (n = 16) groups. Both groups reported a significant reduction in levels of anxiety and worry after intervention, but the reduction was not greater after ABMT than sham ABMT. There was no significant change in attentional bias after ABMT; change in attentional bias was not correlated to changes in anxiety and worry.

Conclusion: The efficacy of the brief ABMT as a mechanistically focused treatment for GAD was not supported. The small sample size and short duration of treatment may have rendered the results inconclusive.
All Author(s) ListChau S.W.H., Tse C.Y., So S.H., Chan S.S.M.
Journal nameEast Asian Archives of Psychiatry
Volume Number29
Issue Number1
Pages3 - 9
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2021-21-09 at 00:09