The effectiveness of an attention bias modification program as an adjunctive treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Jennie M Kuckertz, Nader Amir, Joseph W Boffa, Ciara K Warren, Susan E M Rindt, Sonya Norman, Vasudha Ram, Lauretta Ziajko, Jennifer Webb-Murphy, Robert McLay
Behaviour Research and Therapy 2014, 63: 25-35
Attention bias modification (ABM) may be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders (Beard, Sawyer, & Hofmann, 2012). As individuals with PTSD possess an attentional bias towards threat-relevant information ABM may prove effective in reducing PTSD symptoms. We examined the efficacy of ABM as an adjunct treatment for PTSD in a real-world setting. We administered ABM in conjunction with prolonged exposure or cognitive-processing therapy and medication in a community inpatient treatment facility for military personnel diagnosed with PTSD. Participants were randomized to either ABM or an attention control condition (ACC). While all participants experienced reductions in PTSD symptoms, participants in the ABM group experienced significantly fewer PTSD and depressive symptoms at post-treatment when compared to the ACC group. Moreover, change in plasticity of attentional bias mediated this change in symptoms and initial attentional bias moderated the effects of the treatment. These results suggest that ABM may be an effective adjunct treatment for PTSD.

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