ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 3, 511-527, 2016
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A preliminary evaluation of a home-based, computer-delivered attention training treatment for anxious children living in regional communities

Authors
  Allison Waters - Griffith University
  Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck - Griffith University
  Michelle Craske - UCLA
  Daniel Pine - NIMH
  Brendan Bradley - University of Southampton
  Karin Mogg - University of Southampton

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016, Pages 511-527
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.053315

Abstract

Many children with anxiety disorders live in communities with limited access to treatment. Attention bias modification training (ABMT), a promising computer-based treatment for anxiety disorders, may provide a readily accessible treatment. Recent evidence suggests that a form of ABMT combining visual-search for positive stimuli with features to enhance learning, memory and treatment engagement reduces anxiety in children. The present study builds upon this research by comparing parent-implemented visual-search ABMT (N = 22) with a waitlist control group (N = 19) in children living in regional communities. Children in the waitlist control condition received treatment after the wait period. Diagnostic, parent- and child-reports of anxiety and depressive symptoms, and externalising behaviour problems were assessed pre- and post-condition and six-months after treatment in all participants. Children in the ATC showed greater improvements on clinician- and parent-report measures compared to children in the WLC. Post-treatment gains remained stable but did not improve further at the six-month follow-up assessment. Children who showed greater efficiency in instructed visual search for positive targets at pre-treatment and greater verbalization of explicit attention strategies related to positive search (assessed during treatment) achieved greater improvement in global functioning at the six-month follow-up. Attention training towards positive stimuli using enhanced visual-search procedures appears to be a promising treatment for reaching anxious children living in regional communities.


Table of Contents
Introduction
Method
Participants
Design
Materials
Diagnostic status
Symptoms
Global functioning
Treatment ratings
Treatment program
Procedure
Pre-treatment/wait period assessment phase
Treatment/wait period phase
Post-treatment/wait period assessment phase
Six-month follow-up assessment phase
Response definitions, data screening and statistical analyses
Statistical overview
Results
Initial Group Comparisons
Change in Diagnostic and Symptom Measures from Pre- to Post-Assessment
Diagnostic status
Symptom measures
Global functioning
Treatment Outcomes at Six-month Follow-up
Diagnostic status
Symptom measures
Global functioning
Completer Analyses
Learning and Memory Strategies and Treatment Outcomes
Child Treatment Ratings
Discussion
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
Dr Allison M. Waters, School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Australia

Keywords
Anxiety; children; attention; training

Dates
Received 30 Nov 2015; Revised 9 Jun 2016; Accepted 9 Jun 2016; In Press 26 Jun 2016









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