The effects of computerised metacognitive cognitive bias modification training on the development of adaptive metacognitive beliefs and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms

Danielle Hett, Melanie K.T. Takarangi, Heather D. Flowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background and objectives: Maladaptive metacognitive beliefs are associated with the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms following trauma, however it remains unclear whether training people to adopt healthy metacognitive beliefs helps to protect against the development of PTSD symptoms. We developed and tested a new cognitive bias modification training protocol (CBMMetacog) that aimed to prevent analogue PTSD by training people to adopt healthy metacognitive beliefs prior to watching a distressing film. Methods: Participants (N = 135) received CBMMetacog or a control CBM training and then watched a trauma film. We assessed participants’ metacognitive appraisal style/beliefs, analogue PTSD symptoms, including intrusions and meta-awareness of their intrusions. Results: CBMMetacog led participants to adopt healthier metacognitive beliefs relative to the control training. Importantly, CBMMetacog participants reported fewer film intrusions over a 7-day period compared to the control group. CBMMetacog did not increase participants’ meta-awareness of their intrusions. Limitations: As this was the first study to manipulate metacognitive beliefs related to an analogue trauma via CBM, we chose to use a healthy participant sample. Therefore, further research is needed before these results can be generalised to clinical samples. Conclusions: Overall, these results suggest that training people to adopt healthy metacognitive beliefs, prior to trauma exposure, may help reduce vulnerability to PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101716
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Volume75
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Cognitive bias modification
  • Intrusions
  • Meta-awareness
  • Metacognitive beliefs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Trauma

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