- Emotional working memory training as an online intervention for adolescent anxiety and depression
- A randomised controlled trial
- Australian journal of psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 68 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
OBJECTIVE: Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent disorders in adolescence. They are associated with deficits in working memory (WM), which also appears to increase rumination, worry, and negative mood. WM training, especially in an emotional context, might help in reducing or preventing these disorders. The current study investigated the direct effects of online emotional WM training on WM capacity, and short- and long-term effects on symptoms of anxiety and depression, and secondary measures of emotional functioning.
METHODS: Unselected adolescents (n = 168, aged 11-18) were randomised over an active or placebo emotional WM training. WM was assessed before and after 4 weeks of bi-weekly training. Emotional functioning was assessed pre- and post-training and at 3, 6, and 12 months follow-up.
RESULTS: Improvements in WM capacity and both short- and long-term emotional functioning were found in both training groups, with the only group difference being a trend for a larger increase in self-esteem in the active group compared to the placebo group.
CONCLUSIONS: The general improvements irrespective of training condition suggest non-specific training or time effects, or some shared active ingredient in both conditions. Future research is necessary to detect potentially effective components of (emotional) WM training and to increase adolescent engagement with online training.
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