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Background: Self-esteem is a major concern in the treatment of patients with personality disorders in general. In patients with borderline personality disorder, low self-esteem is associated with factors contributing to suicidal and self-injurious behaviour. At the moment there are no well-proven interventions that specifically target low self-esteem. Recently, a new approach, Competitive Memory Training or COMET, aimed at the enhancement of retrieving beneficial information from memory, appeared to be successful in addressing low self-esteem in different patient populations. Aims: To assess whether COMET for low self-esteem is also an effective intervention for patients with personality disorders. Method: 91 patients with personality disorders who were already in therapy in a regular mental health institution were randomly assigned to either 7 group sessions of COMET in addition to their regular therapy or to 7 weeks of ongoing regular therapy. These latter patients received COMET after their “7 weeks waiting period for COMET”. All patients that completed COMET were contacted 3 months later to assess whether the effects of COMET had remained stable. Results: Compared to the patients who received regular therapy only, patients in the COMET + regular therapy condition improved significantly and with large effect sizes on indices of self-esteem and depression. Significant differential improvements on measures of autonomy and social optimism were also in favour of COMET, but had small to intermediate effect sizes. The therapeutic effects of COMET remained stable after 3 months on three out of the four outcome measures. Conclusion: COMET for low self-esteem seems to be an efficacious trans-diagnostic approach that can rather easily be implemented in the treatment of patients with personality disorders.
Background: Paranoia is a common experience in the non-clinical population. We use a novel experimental methodology to investigate paranoid ideas in individuals without a history of mental illness. Aims: We aimed to determine whether this paradigm could elicit unfounded paranoid thoughts and whether these thoughts could be predicted by factors from a cognitive model. Method: Fifty-eight individuals took part and completed measures assessing trait paranoia, mood, self and other schema and attributional style. They were exposed to two experimental events: 1) an interruption to the testing session by a stooge, and 2) a recording of laughter played outside the testing room and subsequently asked about their explanations for these events. Results: 15.5% (n = 9) of the sample gave a paranoid explanation for at least one of the experimental events. The remainder reported generally neutral explanations. Individuals with a paranoid explanation reported significantly higher levels of trait paranoia. Factors predictive of a paranoid interpretation were interpersonal sensitivity and attributional style. Conclusions: The results show that spontaneous paranoid explanations can be elicited in non-clinical individuals, even for quite neutral events. In line with current theories, the findings suggest that emotional processes contribute to paranoid interpretations of events, although, as a novel study with a modest sample, it requires replication.
Background: This study reports the development and revision of the Beliefs about Paranoia Scale (BaPS), a self-report measure to assess metacognitive beliefs about paranoia in non-patients. We aimed to confirm the factor structure of a revised 50-item version of the measure and test the specific hypotheses that positive beliefs about paranoia would predict frequency of paranoia, and that negative beliefs about paranoia would predict distress associated with paranoia. Method: 185 non-patient participants completed questionnaires assessing beliefs about paranoia, thought control, self-consciousness, anxiety, depression and paranoia. Results: The results showed that the original four-factor solution could not be replicated. Instead a three-factor solution comprising Negative Beliefs about Paranoia, Paranoia as a Survival Strategy, and Normalizing Beliefs was developed. The revised 18-item measure showed good internal consistency. Stepwise regression analysis showed that, BaPS-negative beliefs accounted for 34% of the variance with R2 of 0.339, with a multiple R of 0.585 in relation to frequency of paranoia. In relation to distress arising from paranoia, stepwise regression analysis showed that BaPS-negative beliefs accounted for 34% of the variance with R2 of 0.339, with a multiple R of 0.585. In both analyses, BaPS-Survival strategy showed a small but significant incremental increase in the variance accounted for in the overall model. Conclusions: These findings suggest that a metacognitive approach to the conceptualization of paranoia as a strategy for managing interpersonal threat may have some utility. The clinical implications of the findings are also discussed.
Background: The current nonrandomized clinical trial explored changes over time in children with an anxiety disorder during stepped care, manual-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Methods: Clinically anxious children (8–12 years, n = 133) and their parents participated in child focused CBT (10 sessions). If assessments indicated additional treatment was necessary, participants could step up to a second and possibly third treatment phase (each 5 sessions) including more parental involvement. Results: After the first treatment phase 45% of the Intention-To-Treat sample was free of any anxiety disorder; after the second and third phase an additional 17% and 11% respectively. In total, 74% of the children no longer met criteria for any anxiety disorder following treatment. Child and parent reported anxiety and depression symptoms of children improved significantly during all treatment phases, as well as child reported anxiety sensitivity and negative affect. Children participating in more treatment showed significant improvements during additional treatment phases, indicating that late change occurred for the subgroup that had not changed during the first phase. Conclusions: Stepped care offers a standardized, assessment based, yet tailored treatment approach for children with anxiety disorders. A more intensive treatment is offered when initial CBT is insufficient, providing children additional opportunities to reach the desired outcome.
Background: Research has clearly established the efficacy of pharmacotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) for depression. There is less literature addressing cessation of treatment, such as relapse during withdrawal from antidepressant medication. Aims: The current study examines the role of psychological constructs that may influence relapse or fear of relapse and lead to resumption of medication. This hypothesizes that during withdrawal individuals may misinterpret normal variations in mood and dysphoric or other symptoms as reduced levels of medication in their bodies in keeping with a simplistic rationale for antidepressants. Method: The study uses an intensive single case AB style design in three cases during the withdrawal process. All participants had been treated with CBT plus antidepressants and had previously attempted to withdraw from antidepressants. The first part of the study naturalistically tracks belief changes as medication decreases; the second examines changes in these if/when a CBT intervention is introduced due to relapse or potential near-relapse. Daily self-monitoring diaries were used to measure target variables, together with standardized questionnaires up to 6 months follow-up. Results: Changes in symptoms, appraisal of symptoms, and beliefs about medication changed throughout the study. All participants remained medication free at 6 months follow-up. Two cases received CBT intervention due to possible relapse; the third underwent an unproblematic withdrawal. Conclusions: Patterns of change are discussed in terms of current approaches to medication cessation and the role of CBT during withdrawal.
Background: Comprehensive cognitive theories of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) propose that clinical obsessions and compulsions arise from specific sorts of dysfunctional beliefs and appraisals, such as inflated sense of responsibility, thought-action fusion (TAF), and thought suppression. Aims: The present study aimed to examine the mediator roles of responsibility and thought suppression between TAF and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Specifically, it aimed to explore the relative effects of TAF factors (i.e. morality and likelihood) on inflated sense of responsibility and on thought suppression to increase the obsessive qualities of intrusions. Method: Two hundred and eighty-three Turkish undergraduate students completed a battery of measures on responsibility, thought suppression, TAF, OC symptoms, and depression. Results: A series of hierarchical regression analyses, where depressive symptoms were controlled for, indicated that TAF-morality and TAF-likelihood follow different paths toward OC symptoms. Although TAF-morality associated with inflated sense of responsibility, TAF-likelihood associated with thought suppression efforts, and in turn these factors increased OC symptoms. Conclusions: These findings provide support for the critical role of sense of responsibility and thought suppression between the relationship of TAF and OC symptoms. Findings were discussed in line with the literature.
Background: Depression is common in those with MS. The hopelessness theory of depression, emphasizing the role of attributional style, is supported in this population. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that can affect attributional style can reduce depression in people who have MS. Aims: The present study aimed to consider whether changing attributional style would reduce depression in two people with MS, thereby supporting the importance of this component of CBT with this population. Method: Two female participants with MS were offered a 5-session intervention designed to alter attributional style. The study followed an ABA design. Attributional style and depressive symptoms were the principal measures considered. Negative life events and MS related stresses were also monitored. Results: The intervention appeared effective for one of the participants, with predicted changes in attributional style and sizeable reductions in depressive symptoms from pre- to post-treatment that were sustained at 3-month follow-up. Improvement was still evident at 6 months, although with some reduction of effect. The intervention was less successful for the other participant who declined further treatment after three sessions. Conclusions: Some support for the hopelessness theory of depression was found, indicating its relevance to CBT interventions for those who have MS and depression.