A preliminary evaluation of a home based, computer delivered attention training treatment for anxious children living in regional communities

Allison M. Waters*, Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck, Michelle G. Craske, Daniel S. Pine, Brendan P. Bradley, Karin Mogg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many children with anxiety disorders live in communities with limited access to treatment. Attention bias modification training, 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 attention training to positive stimuli (ATP) (N = 22) with a waitlist control group (WLC) (N = 19) in children living in regional communities. Diagnostic, parent-and child-reports of anxiety and depressive symptoms and broad internalizing and externalizing behaviour problems were assessed pre-and post-condition. Children in the WLC completed visual-search ATP after the wait period and all participants completed a follow-up assessment six-months after treatment. At post-treatment/ wait period, children in the ATP condition showed greater improvements on clinician-and parent-report measures compared to children in the WLC. Similar post-treatment outcomes as those found for the ATP condition were observed at the six-month follow-up after all children had received ATP. Moreover, children who showed greater verbalization of explicit attention strategies related to positive search (assessed during treatment) achieved greater reductions in anxiety severity at post-treatment and 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. (C) Copyright 2016 Textrum Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-527
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of experimental psychopathology
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • children
  • attention
  • modification

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