Attention Bias Modification Treatment: A Meta-Analysis Toward the Establishment of Novel Treatment for Anxiety

Division of Adult Mental Health, National Institute of Mental Health, Tokyo, Japan.
Biological psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 09/2010; 68(11):982-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.07.021
Source: PubMed


Attention Bias Modification Treatment (ABMT) is a newly emerging, promising treatment for anxiety disorders. Although recent randomized control trials (RCTs) suggest that ABMT reduces anxiety, therapeutic effects have not been summarized quantitatively.
Standard meta-analytic procedures were used to summarize the effect of ABMT on anxiety. With MEDLINE, January 1995 to February 2010, we identified RCTs comparing the effects on anxiety of ABMT and quantified effect sizes with Hedge's d.
Twelve studies met inclusion criteria, including 467 participants from 10 publications. Attention Bias Modification Treatment produced significantly greater reductions in anxiety than control training, with a medium effect (d = .51 [corrected] (p < .001). Age and gender did not moderate the effect of ABMT on anxiety, whereas several characteristics of the ABMT training did.
Attention Bias Modification Treatment shows promise as a novel treatment for anxiety. Additional RCTs are needed to fully evaluate the degree to which these findings replicate and apply to patients. Future work should consider the precise role for ABMT in the broader anxiety-disorder therapeutic armamentarium.

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    • "Threat-related attention bias is implicated in the etiology and maintenance of social anxiety disorder (SAD;Clark and Wells (1995)andRapee and Heimberg (1997)), and has been identified as a target for therapeutic intervention in the form of attention bias modification treatment (ABMT; for reviews, seeBar-Haim (2010), Hakamata et al. (2010), Heeren et al. (2015and VanBockstaele et al. (2014)). Most of the evidence for biased attention in social anxiety comes from studies employing cognitive tasks that rely on reaction time (RT) data (for reviews, seeHaim et al. (2007), Beard et al. (2012), Cisler et al. (2009and Cisler and Koster (2010)). "
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    ABSTRACT: Identification of reliable targets for therapeutic interventions is essential for developing evidence-based therapies. Threat-related attention bias has been implicated in the etiology and maintenance of social anxiety disorder. Extant response-time-based threat bias measures have demonstrated limited reliability and internal consistency. Here, we examined gaze patterns of socially anxious and nonanxious participants in relation to social threatening and neutral stimuli using an eye-tracking task, comprised of multiple threat and neutral stimuli, presented for an extended time-period. We tested the psychometric properties of this task with the hope to provide a solid stepping-stone for future treatment development.
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    • "Attention is an important mechanism of emotion regulation as it influences the extent to which emotion-provoking information undergoes deeper processing or is disregarded (Todd, Cunningham, Anderson, & Thompson, 2012). Children can direct attention away to down-regulate or toward certain emotional information to up-regulate their emotional states (Hakamata et al., 2010). However , children's emotional states can bias their attention toward emotion-congruent information (Bar-Haim, Lamy, Pergamin, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & van IJzendoorn 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The family environment shapes children’s social information processing and emotion regulation. Yet, the long-term effects of early family systems have rarely been studied. This study investigated how family system types predict children’s attentional biases toward facial expressions at the age of 10 years. The participants were 79 children from Cohesive, Disengaged, Enmeshed, and Authoritarian family types based on marital and parental relationship trajectories from pregnancy to the age of 12 months. A dot-probe task was used to assess children’s emotional attention biases toward threatening (angry) and affiliative (happy) faces at the early (500 ms) and late (1250 ms) stages of processing. Situational priming was applied to activate children’s sense of danger or safety. Results showed that children from Cohesive families had an early-stage attentional bias toward threat, whereas children from Enmeshed families had a late-stage bias toward threat. Children from Disengaged families had an early-stage attentional bias toward threat, but showed in addition a late-stage bias away from emotional faces (i.e., both angry and happy). Children from Authoritarian families, in turn, showed a late-stage attentional bias toward emotional faces. Situational priming did not moderate the effects of family system types on children’s attentional biases. The findings confirm the influence of early family systems on the attentional biases, suggesting differences in the emotion regulation strategies children have developed to adapt to their family environments.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · International Journal of Behavioral Development
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    • "Specifically, we tried to aggregate studies that employed attention training to improve performance on attention, and non-trained cognitive and academic skills to gain insight into if, when, how, and for whom attention training should be applied in educational settings. We intentionally excluded studies that trained emotional attention for anxiety reduction or other therapeutic effects (e.g., Donald, Abbott, & Smith, 2014; Hakamata et al., 2010; Mulkens, Bogels, de Jong, & Louwers, 2001), and we only included studies on typically developing individuals, individuals with ADHD, and individuals with learning difficulties as to understand the relative effectiveness across these groups. Furthermore, we investigated factors that might moderate the training effects on attention. "
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    ABSTRACT: The main goals of this selective meta-analysis on the populations of ADHD, learning difficulties and typically developing individuals were (a) to determine whether attention skills can be improved by attention training programs, (b) to examine whether attention training effects transfer to other outcomes (i.e., academic and cognitive skill), and (c) to identify moderators of the attention training effects on attention. A meta-analysis of 15 studies with 113 effect sizes found a significant, medium-sized training effect on attention, Hedges g = .25, 95% CI [.02, .47] and the effects of attention training significantly transferred to non-trained tasks (academic and cognitive skills), Hedges g = .24, 95% CI [.01, .47]. Moderation analyses indicated that attention training is more effective for improving attention when the training is adaptive and is more effective for younger individuals and for individuals with ADHD. Also, attention training seems more effective for improving attention when it targets the orienting attention network. The implications of these findings with respect to attention training are discussed. Keywords: attention training, alerting, orienting, executive attention, age, ADHD
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