Memory specificity training (MEST) alone can
improve mood associated with depression as found in previous studies. The aim
was to build upon and expand on previous MEST and self-distancing (SD) studies
by testing the effectiveness and feasibility of seven treatment sessions with a
three month follow up of group CBT with MEST and SD in moderately depressed
adults in two London Boroughs. Method was to recruit 60 participants from
advertisements and a screening process that included administration of
questionnaires, the autobiographical memory test (AMT) and Beck depression
inventory (BDI-II) and interviewed to confirm they met the inclusion and
exclusion criteria, and met symptoms for depression as listed in the DSM-5.
Consent was obtained and then block randomising done to ensure a balanced group.
There were 55 participants who completed the treatment at all time points and
their data and scores on the AMT and BDI-II was used when running a one way
repeated ANOVA as this was a within group design with repeated measures, using
SPSS 22. The results showed improvements occurred at post-treatment and three
month follow up for AMS and BDI-II scores that was statistically significant
with large effect sizes at post-treatment and three month follow up. Discussion,
the null hypothesis was rejected and the alternative hypothesis was accepted. MEST
with self-distancing is an effective and feasible adjunct with CBT in improving
memory specificity and mood. Limitations included; the study was not fully
blind, no independent therapist, low frequency of supervision for checking
manual adherence, no SCID, short follow up period and reduced generalisability.
Future research could repeat this study using group CBT as a control,
participants recruited from out-patient departments, larger sample size,
improve blinding before random allocation, using SCID, frequent supervision and
use of an independent therapist.
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