Title

Combined "Top-Down" and "Bottom-Up" Intervention for Anxiety Sensitivity; Pilot Randomized Trial Testing the Additive Effect of Interpretation Bias Modification

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2017

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Objective

Anxiety disorders contribute substantially to the overall public health burden. Anxiety sensitivity (AS), a fear of anxiety-related sensations, is one of the few known malleable risk factors for anxiety pathology. Previous AS reduction treatments have primarily utilized “top-down” (e.g., psychoeducation) interventions. The goal of the current study was to evaluate the effect of adding a “bottom-up” (interpretation bias modification; CBM-I) intervention to an AS psychoeducation intervention.

Design

Single-site randomized controlled trial. Participants completed either a 1) Psychoeducation + active CBM-I or 2) Psychoeducation + control CBM-I intervention. Change in AS was assessed post-intervention and at a one-month follow-up.

Participants

Individuals with elevated levels of AS.

Intervention

Single-session computer-delivered intervention for AS.

Results

Accounting for baseline ASI-3 scores, post-intervention ASI-3 scores were significantly lower in the combined condition than in the psychoeducation + control CBM-I condition (β = 0.24, p < 0.05; d = 0.99). The active CBM-I plus psychoeducation AS intervention was successful in reducing overall AS (59% post-intervention; p < 0.05, Cohen's d = 0.99) and these reductions were maintained through one-month post-intervention (52%; p < 0.05, Cohen's d = 1.18). Participants in the active condition reported significantly lower rates of panic responding to a vital-capacity CO2 challenge (OR = 6.34, 95% CI = 1.07–37.66). Lastly, change in interpretation bias significantly mediated the relationship between treatment condition and post-treatment AS reductions.

Conclusions

The current intervention was efficacious in terms of immediate and one-month AS reductions. Given its brevity, low-cost, low-stigma and portability, this intervention could lead to reducing the burden of anxiety disorders.

Publication Title

Journal of Psychiatric Research

Volume

85

First Page

75

Last Page

82

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