The attention training technique, self-focused attention, and anxiety: A laboratory-based component study
Behavior Research and Therapy
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2014
Source ID: shanti-sources-49766
Abstract: Self-focused attention is an important target of intervention within Wells's (2009) metacognitive therapy and the attention training technique (ATT) is one component of metacognitive therapy that purportedly alters focus of attention. However, we do not yet fully understand whether ATT causes changes in focus of attention, the effectiveness of ATT compared to other techniques in reducing self-focused attention, and how ATT leads to its therapeutic gains. A laboratory-based component study was completed to address these gaps in the literature. Nonclinical participants were randomly assigned to one session of ATT (n = 38) or a mindfulness-based task (n = 38). ATT and the mindfulness-based task differentially changed focus of attention, with ATT causing greater external focus of attention and the mindfulness-based task causing greater self-focused attention from pre-to-post manipulation. ATT and the mindfulness-based task both led to reductions in anxiety. Reductions in self-focused attention were related to less anxiety following ATT, whereas increases in self-focused attention were related to less anxiety following the mindfulness-based task. Conceptual and therapeutic implications are discussed.