Attention Training for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The recruitment status of this study is unknown because the information has not been verified recently.
Verified January 2008 by San Diego State University.
Recruitment status was  Recruiting
Information provided by:
San Diego State University Identifier:
First received: January 15, 2008
Last updated: May 28, 2008
Last verified: January 2008

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) has high prelevance (up to 8.5%; Roy-Byrne & Wagner, 2004) and leads to functional impairment (Wittchen et al., 2002; Ballenger et al., 2001). Researchers have demonstrated a relationship between attention bias to threatening information and GAD. However, this knowledge has not yet been translated into effective treatments. The goal of this project is develop and test a new computerized treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Condition Intervention
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Behavioral: AMP
Behavioral: PC

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Attention Training for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by San Diego State University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale [ Time Frame: Pre, Post, Followup ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Worry Domains Questionnaire [ Time Frame: Pre, Post, Followup ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 240
Study Start Date: December 2007
Estimated Study Completion Date: April 2013
Estimated Primary Completion Date: April 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Attention Modification Program
Behavioral: AMP
The AMP protocol includes eight 30-min sessions delivered over a 4-week period. During each session, participants will see 240 trials consisting of the various combinations of probe type (E or F), probe position (top or bottom), and word type (Neutral or Threat). Of the 240 trials, 48 include only neutral words: 2 (probe type) X 2 (probe position) X 12 (word pairs). The remaining 192 trials include one neutral word and one threat word: 2 (probe type) X 2 (probe position) X 2 (repetitions) X 24 (word pairs). On trials where participants see one neutral word and one threat word (i.e., 80% of the trials), the probe always follows the neutral word.
Placebo Comparator: 2
Placebo Condition
Behavioral: PC
The placebo condition (PC) will be identical to the AMP condition except that during the presentation of the trials where a threat word is present, the probe will appear with equal frequency in the position of threat and neutral words. Thus, neither threat nor neutral words have signal value with regard to the position of the probe.

Detailed Description:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry (Barlow, et al., 1986) leading to medical over-utilization, poor perceived health, low ratings of quality of life, and impairment at work resulting in a significant economic and public health impact (Wittchen et al., 2002; Ballenger et al., 2001). Lifetime prevalence of GAD is high (5.7%, Kessler, et al, 2005), with even higher estimates in the primary care setting (8.5%, Roy-Byrne & Wager, 2004). Researchers have established a relationship between GAD and attention bias to threatening information (Mogg & Bradley 2005). This knowledge, however, has not been translated into more effective treatments for this disorder. This five-year, two site proposal aims to test a computerized treatment for GAD in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study bridging basic attention bias research and treatment outcome. We present the results from 7 studies demonstrating the efficacy of attention modification programs (AMP) in ameliorating symptoms of anxiety. Specifically, we report results from a pilot study of individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (n=24, Dr Amir's lab), and high worries (n=24, Dr. Schmidt's lab) demonstrating the effectiveness of the procedures described in this proposal.

In brief, our intervention was effective in: a) changing biased attention, b) reducing symptoms of GAD, and c) maintaining its effects in up to one year follow-up. This technique for changing attention bias in GAD can provide a cost-effective and easy to administer treatment grounded in basic cognitive science that may help reduce suffering in individuals with anxiety. A larger study would allow us to test the treatment and examine the generalizability of the intervention to patients with GAD along with comorbid conditions. Moreover, we will examine the transportability of the intervention by examining the proposed intervention at two sites. There are currently 10 participants enrolled in the newest phase of pilot data collection (SDSU 6, FSU 4).

The goal of the current proposal is to extend these findings to a larger group of individuals with GAD and to examine the generalizability of the results to individuals with comorbid GAD. In the current proposal we will test two hypotheses:

  1. Individuals with GAD completing the AMP will show a larger reduction in their attention bias to threat compared to the placebo group
  2. Individuals with GAD completing AMP will show a larger reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to the placebo group.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 65 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Primary diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Evidence of suicidal intent
  • Evidence of current substance abuse
  • Evidence of current or past schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or organic mental disorder
  • Current CBT
  • Change in other psychosocial or pharmacological treatment during the 12 weeks prior to study entry.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00602563

Contact: Nader Amir, Ph.D. 619-229-3740

United States, California
San Diego State University Recruiting
San Diego, California, United States, 92120
Sponsors and Collaborators
San Diego State University
Principal Investigator: Nader Amir, Ph.D. San Diego State University
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Nader Amir, Ph.D., San Diego State University Identifier: NCT00602563     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 1R01MH081938-01A1, 1R01MH081938-01A1
Study First Received: January 15, 2008
Last Updated: May 28, 2008
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by San Diego State University:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Information Processing

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Anxiety Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on March 26, 2015