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Intrusive memories (IMs) after traumatic events can be distressing and disrupt mental health and functioning. We evaluated the impact of a brief remotely-delivered digital imagery-competing task intervention on the number of IMs for intensive care unit (ICU) staff who faced repeated trauma exposure during the COVID-19 pandemic using a two-arm, parallel-group, single-blind randomised controlled trial, with the comparator arm receiving delayed access to active treatment (crossover). Eligible participants worked clinically in a UK NHS ICU during the pandemic and had at least 3 IMs of work-related traumatic events in the week before recruitment. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to immediate (weeks 1-4) or delayed (weeks 5-8) intervention access. Sequential Bayesian analyses to optimise the intervention and increase trial efficiency are reported elsewhere [1]. The primary endpoint for the pre-specified frequentist analysis of the final study population compared the number of IMs experienced in week 4 between the immediate and delayed access arms. Secondary outcomes included clinical symptoms, work functioning and wellbeing. Safety was assessed throughout the trial by scheduled questions and free report. All analyses were undertaken on an intention-to-treat basis (86 randomised participants). There were significantly fewer intrusive memories during week 4 in the immediate (median = 1, IQR = 0-3, n = 43), compared to the comparator delayed arm (median = 10, IQR = 6-17, n = 43), IRR 0.31, 95% CI: 0.20-0.48, p 

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Psychiatry

Publication Date





Humans, Bayes Theorem, Pandemics, Quality of Life, Single-Blind Method, COVID-19, Critical Care