Harnessing mental imagery and enhancing memory specificity: Developing a brief early intervention for depressive symptoms in adolescence

Pile, Victoria, Smith, Patrick, Leamy, Mary, Oliver, Abigail, Blackwell, Simon E., Meiser-Stedman, Richard, Dunn, Barnaby, Holmes, Emily and Lau, Jennifer Y. F. (2021) Harnessing mental imagery and enhancing memory specificity: Developing a brief early intervention for depressive symptoms in adolescence. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 45 (5). 885–901. ISSN 0147-5916

PDF (Pile ea 2020 CT&R, Harnessing mental imagery & enhancing mem specificity) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Background: Treatment innovation for depressive symptoms in adolescence is urgently needed. Adult research suggests interventions targeting underlying cognitive mechanisms, such as dysfunctional mental imagery and overgeneral memory, are promising. Here, we describe and evaluate in a case series a brief imagery-based intervention for depressive symptoms that targets these cognitive mechanisms. Methods: Nine participants completed the four-session intervention, whose principle components were imagery rescripting and memory specificity training. Questionnaires and experimental tasks (assessing symptomatology and cognitive mechanisms) were administered at three time points: pre-intervention, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. Results: The intervention was feasible to deliver and acceptable to participants. There was a large reduction in depression symptom scores from pre to post intervention (d = 1.32; 67% showed reliable improvement, RI) and this was maintained at follow-up (d = 1.46; RI = 75%). There were also reductions in anxiety (post: d = 1.15, RI = 44%; follow-up: d = 1.67, RI = 63%), increases in self-esteem (post: d = − 0.70, RI = 44%; follow-up: d = − 1.20, RI = 50%) and noteworthy changes in memory specificity (post: d = − 1.80, RI = 67%; follow-up: d = − 0.94, RI = 63%). Conclusions: This is the first study to use imagery rescripting and memory specificity training in adolescence. Initial evidence is provided that the intervention is acceptable and may have clinical utility. Future randomised controlled trials are needed to further assess the intervention.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adolescence,autobiographical memory,depression,early intervention,mental imagery,psychological therapy,experimental and cognitive psychology,clinical psychology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2020 00:04
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 14:06
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/76532
DOI: 10.1007/s10608-020-10130-3

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item