A comparison of MEmory Specificity Training (MEST) to education and support (ES) in the treatment of recurrent depression:Study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial

Dalgleish, Tim, Bevan, Anna, Mckinnon, Anna, Breakwell, Lauren, Mueller, Viola, Chadwick, Isobel, Schweizer, Susanne, Hitchcock, Caitlin, Watson, Peter, Raes, Filip, Jobson, Laura and Werner-Seidler, Aliza (2014) A comparison of MEmory Specificity Training (MEST) to education and support (ES) in the treatment of recurrent depression:Study protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial. Trials, 15. ISSN 1745-6215

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Abstract

Background Depression is a debilitating mental health problem that tends to run a chronic, recurrent course. Even when effectively treated, relapse and recurrence rates remain high. Accordingly, interventions need to focus not only on symptom reduction, but also on reducing the risk of relapse by targeting depression-related disturbances that persist into remission. We are addressing this need by investigating the efficacy, acceptability and feasibility of a MEmory Specificity Training (MEST) programme, which directly targets an enduring cognitive marker of depression - reduced autobiographical memory specificity. Promising pilot data suggest that training memory specificity ameliorates this disturbance and reduces depressive symptoms. A larger, controlled trial is now needed to examine the efficacy of MEST. This trial compares MEST to an education and support (ES) group, with an embedded mechanism study. Methods/Design In a single blind, parallel cluster randomised controlled trial, 60 depressed individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for a current major depressive episode will be recruited from the community and clinical services. Using a block randomisation procedure, groups of 5 to 8 participants will receive five weekly sessions of MEST (n = 30) or education and support (n = 30). Participants will be assessed immediately post-treatment, and at 3- and 6-months post-treatment (MEST group only for 6-month follow-up). Depressive symptoms at 3-month follow-up will be the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes will be change in depressive status and memory specificity at post-treatment and 3-months. The 6-month follow-up of the MEST group will allow us to examine whether treatment gains are maintained. An explanatory question will examine variables mediating improvement in depression symptoms post-treatment and at 3-month follow-up. Discussion This trial will allow us to investigate the efficacy of MEST, whether treatment gains are maintained, and the mechanisms of change. Evidence will be gathered regarding whether this treatment is feasible and acceptable as a low-intensity intervention. If efficacy can be demonstrated, the results will support MEST as a treatment for depression and provide the foundation for a definitive trial.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2014 Dalgleish et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Uncontrolled Keywords: depression,memory specificity training,autobiographical memory
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2014 08:30
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2020 23:23
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/49960
DOI: 10.1186/1745-6215-15-293

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