A study protocol for a randomised trial of adjunct computerised memory specificity training (c-MeST) for major depression in youth: targeting cognitive mechanisms to enhance usual care outcomes in mental health settings
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by David HallfordDavid Hallford, A M Carmichael, David AustinDavid Austin, K Takano, F Raes, Matthew Fuller-TyszkiewiczMatthew Fuller-Tyszkiewicz
BACKGROUND: Youth depression is highly prevalent and is related to impairments in academic, social and behavioural functioning. Evidence-based treatments are available, but many young people do not respond or sufficiently recover with first-line options, and a significant proportion experience relapse. Consequently, there is clear scope to enhance intervention in this critical period of early-onset depression. Memory specificity training (MeST) is a low-intensity intervention for depression that targets reduced specificity when recalling memories of the past, a common cognitive vulnerability in depression. This randomised controlled trial will assess the efficacy of adding a computerised version of MeST (c-MeST) to usual care for youth depression. METHODS/DESIGN: Young people aged 15-25 years with a major depressive episode (MDE) will be recruited and randomised to have immediate access to the seven session online c-MeST program in addition to usual care, or to usual care and wait-list for c-MeST. The primary outcomes will be diagnostic status of an MDE and self-reported depressive symptoms assessed at baseline, 1-, 3- and 6-month intervals. Autobiographical memory specificity and other variables thought to contribute to the maintenance of reduced memory specificity and depression will be assessed as mediators of change. DISCUSSION: Online provision of c-MeST provides a simple, low-intensity option for targeting a cognitive vulnerability that predicts the persistence of depressive symptoms. If found to be efficacious as an adjunct to usual care for depressed youth, it could be suitable for broader roll-out, as c-MeST is highly accessible and implementation requires only minimal resources due to the online and automated nature of intervention. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ACTRN12619000234112p. Registered on the 18 February 2019. All items from the WHO Trial Registration Data Set can be found within the protocol.1.0.
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Science & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicineMedicine, Research & ExperimentalResearch & Experimental MedicineAutobiographical memoryDepressionMemory specificityMemory specificity trainingOvergeneral memoryMeSTOnline interventionOVERGENERAL AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORYDISORDERSANXIETYONSETMOODINTERVENTIONRUMINATIONSYMPTOMSADULTSYOUNG