A multimethod investigation of the impact of attentional control on a brief intervention for anxiety and depression. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Anxiety sensitivity (AS; fear of anxiety) is a malleable risk factor for anxiety and depression. Brief computerized interventions, including elements of psychoeducation, interoceptive exposure, and cognitive bias modification (CBM) can reduce anxiety and depression through AS reductions. These interventions are not equally efficacious for all who receive them, suggesting the need to explore moderators. Attentional control (AC), the ability to regulate attentional processes by focusing and shifting attention as needed, has been linked to AS, anxiety, and depression suggesting that it may moderate treatment efficacy. The moderating effects of self-report and neurophysiological (i.e., theta/beta ratio, occipital alpha power) indices associated with AC processes on a brief AS-focused intervention were examined. METHOD: Participants (M age = 36.43, SD = 16.47; 57.5% female) were randomized to cognitive AS treatment (n = 67) or a repeated contact control (n = 60). RESULTS: Occipital alpha power moderated the rate of change in AS across three weekly treatment sessions as well as the effects of the intervention on anxiety and depression symptoms at the 1-month follow-up. Lower alpha power was associated with a swifter reduction in AS symptoms and marginally lower levels of anxiety and depression at follow-up. AC indices were not correlated with each other. CONCLUSIONS: These findings present a novel hypothesis that lower AC as indexed by occipital alpha power might increase treatment gains in the context of a brief transdiagnostic treatment for anxiety and depression. These findings also highlight the need for external validity studies of AC indices. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • J Consult Clin Psychol

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Allan, N. P., Albanese, B. J., Judah, M. R., Gooch, C. V., & Schmidt, N. B.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Allan, Nicholas P||Albanese, Brian J||Judah, Matt R||Gooch, Caroline V||Schmidt, Norman B

publication date

  • January 2020