Original Article

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 89-102

Efficacy of Interpretation Bias Modification in Depressed Adolescents and Young Adults

  • Jamie A. MiccoAffiliated withChild Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School Email author 
  • , Aude HeninAffiliated withChild Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School
  • , Dina R. Hirshfeld-BeckerAffiliated withChild Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

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Abstract

This study evaluated the efficacy of a four-session Cognitive Bias Modification-Interpretation program for 45 depressed adolescents and young adults (14–21 years old; 12 males, 33 females; Beck Depressive Inventory, Second Edition ≥14) randomized to an active intervention condition (repeated exposure to positive outcomes of depression-relevant ambiguous scenarios; n = 23) or a control condition (n = 22). Both conditions experienced reductions on a Test of Interpretation Bias at post-treatment, with no significant between-group differences. When limited to those with negative bias at baseline, the intervention group showed greater improvement in interpretation bias at mid- and post-treatment. In addition, the intervention group overall had greater improvements in self-reported negative cognitions than the control group at post-intervention and two-week follow-up. However, there were no differences between groups in depression or anxiety symptom change. Potential factors contributing to mixed findings are discussed.

Keywords

Interpretation bias Cognitive bias modification Adolescents Depression