Evaluating the Long-Term (Three Year) Durability of Brief Interventions Targeting Risk Factors For Psychopathology

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Despite their brevity, prior work indicates that computer-based interventions can substantially impact risk factors for psychopathology including anxiety sensitivity (AS), thwarted belongingness (TB), and perceived burdensomeness (PB). However, very few studies have assessed the long-term (> 1 year) effects of these interventions. The primary aim of the current study was to evaluate post-hoc, the long-term (3 year) durability of brief interventions targeting risk factors for anxiety and mood psychopathology using data from a pre-registered randomized clinical trial. Moreover, we were interested in evaluating whether mitigation in these risk factors mediated long-term symptom change. A sample determined to be at-risk for anxiety and mood pathology based on elevations on several risk factors (N = 303) was randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions focused on: (1) reducing TB and PB; (2) reducing AS, (3) reducing TB,PB, and AS; or (4) a repeated contact control condition. Participants were assessed at post-intervention, one, three, six, 12, and 36 month follow-ups. Participants in the active treatment conditions showed sustained reductions in AS and PB through long-term follow-up. Mediation analyses suggested that reductions in AS mediated long-term reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms. These findings suggest that brief and scalable risk reduction protocols have long-term durability and efficacy both in terms of reducing risk factors for psychopathology.

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Journal of Anxiety Disorders



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