The effect of attention bias modification on depressive symptoms in a comorbid sample: a randomized controlled trial.
Bø R., Kraft B., Pedersen ML., Joormann J., Jonassen R., Osnes K., Harmer CJ., Landrø NI.
BACKGROUND: Studies investigating the long-term effect of attention bias modification (ABM) in clinical samples are lacking. This study investigates the 6-months follow-up effect of ABM on depressive symptoms in participant with major depressive disorder with and without comorbid disorders. METHODS: We conducted a double-blind randomized sham-controlled trial in 101 participants between 19 November 2019, and 17 August 2021. Follow-up ended 3 April 2022. Participants were allocated to ABM or sham condition twice daily for 14 consecutive days. Primary outcomes were the total score on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) at 6 months, mean Brief State Rumination Inventory (BSRI) score post-treatment and reduction in BSRI post-treatment. Secondary outcome was change in attentional bias (AB). The trial was preregistered in ClinicalTrials.gov (#NCT04137367). RESULTS: A total of 118 patients aged 18-65 years were assessed for eligibility, and 101 were randomized and subjected to intention-to-treat analyses. At 6 months, ABM had no effect on depression and anxiety compared to a sham condition. While rumination decreased during the intervention, there was no effect of condition on rumination and AB. Predictor analysis did not reveal differences between participants with ongoing major depressive episode or comorbid anxiety. CONCLUSION: Compared to sham training, there was no effect of ABM on depressive symptoms at 6-months follow-up. Since the intervention failed at modifying AB, it is unclear whether changes in AB are related to long-term outcomes.