PloS one 2018 03 1513(3) e0194274 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0194274
Negatively biased interpretations play an important role in anxiety and depression, which are highly prevalent in adolescence, and changing such biases might thus reduce or prevent emotional disorders. We investigated the short- and long-term effects of an online interpretation bias modification training in unselected adolescents to explore its potential in preventing anxiety and depression.
Participants (N = 173) were randomly allocated to eight online sessions of interpretation or placebo training. Interpretation bias was assessed pre- and post-training. Primary outcomes of anxiety and depression, and secondary measures of emotional resilience were assessed pre- and post-training and at three, six, and twelve months follow-up.
Compared to placebo, interpretation training marginally increased positive interpretations. Irrespective of training condition, symptoms of anxiety and depression showed a decline post-training and at follow-up, and indices of resilience showed an increase. Change in interpretation bias, baseline interpretation bias, stressful life events, or number of training sessions completed did not moderate the effects on anxiety or depression.
Results suggest that interpretation training as implemented in this study has no added value in reducing symptoms or enhancing resilience in unselected adolescents.