Attention Training for Generalized Social Anxiety Disorder
ABSTRACT Attentional bias toward negative social cues is thought to serve an etiological and/or maintaining role in social anxiety disorder (SAD). The current study tested whether training patients to disengage from negative social cues may ameliorate social anxiety in patients (N = 36) with a primary diagnosis of generalized SAD. Patients were randomly assigned to either an attention training condition (n = 18), in which patients completed a modified dot-probe task designed to facilitate attentional disengagement from disgusted faces, or a control dot-probe task condition (n = 18). As predicted, patients in the attention training condition exhibited significantly greater reductions in social anxiety and trait anxiety, compared with patients in the control condition. At termination, 72% of patients in the active treatment condition, relative to 11% of patients in the control condition, no longer met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) criteria for SAD. At 4-month follow-up, patients in the attention training condition continued to maintain their clinical improvement, and diagnostic differences across conditions were also maintained. Results support attention-based models of anxiety and suggest that attention training is a promising alternative or complementary intervention.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Attentional bias modification (ABM) is a potentially exciting new development in the treatment of anxiety disorders. But reported therapeutic benefits have not always been replicated. To gauge the sensitivity of tasks used in ABM treatment and assessment, we used a counterbalanced within-subject design to measure their discriminant sensitivity to neutral and threatening facial expressions, comparing them with other well-known tasks that measure visual attention.Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 01/2015; 48C. DOI:10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.01.005 · 2.23 Impact Factor
- 01/2015; 3(1):58-78. DOI:10.1177/2167702614560749
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Observational studies have shown that attentional bias for smoking-related cues is associated with increased craving and relapse. Laboratory experiments have shown that manipulating attentional bias may change craving. Interventions to reduce attentional bias could reduce relapse in smokers seeking to quit. We report a clinical trial of attentional retraining in treatment-seeking smokers. This was a double-blind randomised controlled trial that took place in UK smoking cessation clinics. Smokers interested in quitting were randomised to five weekly sessions of attentional retraining (N=60) or placebo training (N=58) using a modified visual probe task from one week prior to quit day. Both groups received 21mg nicotine patches (from quit day onwards) and behavioural support. Primary outcomes included change in attentional bias reaction times four weeks after quit day on the visual probe task and craving measured weekly using the Mood and Physical Symptoms Scale. Secondary outcomes were changes in withdrawal symptoms, time to first lapse and prolonged abstinence. No attentional bias towards smoking cues was found in the sample at baseline (mean difference=3ms, 95% CI=-2, 9). Post-training bias was not significantly lower in the retraining group compared with the placebo group (mean difference=-9ms, 95% CI=-20, 2). There was no difference between groups in change in craving (p=0.89) and prolonged abstinence at four weeks (risk ratio=1.00, 95% CI=0.70, 1.43). Taken with one other trial, there appears to be no effect from clinic-based attentional retraining using the visual probe task. Attentional retraining conducted out of clinic may prove more effective. UK Clinical Trials ISRCTN 54375405. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.Drug and Alcohol Dependence 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2015.01.041 · 3.28 Impact Factor