Acceptance and Commitment Therapy preceded by an experimental Attention Bias Modification procedure in recurrent depression: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.
Østergaard T., Lundgren T., Zettle R., Jonassen R., Harmer CJ., Stiles TC., Landrø NI., Haaland VØ.
BACKGROUND: This project studies the effect of group-based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) following Attention Bias Modification (ABM) on residual symptoms in recurrent depression. ACT is a cognitive-behavioral intervention combining acceptance and mindfulness processes with commitment and behavior-change processes. ACT enjoys modest empirical support in treating depression and has also shown promising results in secondary prevention of depression. The experimental cognitive bias modification (ABM) procedure has been shown to reduce surrogate markers of depression vulnerability in patients in remission from depression. The aim of the current project is to investigate if the effect of group-based ACT on reducing residual depressive symptoms can be enhanced by preceding it with ABM. Also, assessment of the relationship between conceptually relevant therapeutic processes and outcome will be investigated. METHODS/DESIGN: An invitation to participate in this project was extended to 120 individuals within a larger sample who had just completed a separate randomized, multisite, clinical trial (referred to hereafter as Phase 1) in which they received either ABM (n = 60) or a control condition without bias modification (n = 60). This larger Phase-1 sample consisted of 220 persons with a history of at least two episodes of major depression who were currently in remission or not fulfilling the criteria of major depression. After its inclusion, Phase-1 participants from the Sørlandet site (n = 120) were also recruited for this study in which they received an 8-week group-based ACT intervention. Measures will be taken immediately after Phase 1, 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, and 1 year after the conclusion of Phase 1. DISCUSSION: This study sequentially combines acceptable, nondrug interventions from neuropsychology and cognitive-behavioral psychology in treating residual symptoms in depression. The results will provide information about the effectiveness of treatment and on mechanisms and processes of change that may be valuable in understanding and further developing ABM and ACT, combined and alone. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT02648165 . Registered on 6 January 2016.