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An observational treatment study of metacognition in anxious-depression

Fox, Celine Ann; Lee, Chi Tak; Hanlon, Anna Kathleen; Seow, Tricia XF; Lynch, Kevin; Harty, Siobhán; Richards, Derek; ... Gillan, Claire M; + view all (2023) An observational treatment study of metacognition in anxious-depression. eLife , 12 , Article RP87193. 10.7554/eLife.87193. Green open access

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Abstract

Prior studies have found metacognitive biases are linked to a transdiagnostic dimension of anxious-depression, manifesting as reduced confidence in performance. However, previous work has been cross-sectional and so it is unclear if under-confidence is a trait-like marker of anxious-depression vulnerability, or if it resolves when anxious-depression improves. Data were collected as part of a large-scale transdiagnostic, four-week observational study of individuals initiating internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) or antidepressant medication. Self-reported clinical questionnaires and perceptual task performance were gathered to assess anxious-depression and metacognitive bias at baseline and 4-week follow-up. Primary analyses were conducted for individuals who received iCBT (n=649), with comparisons between smaller samples that received antidepressant medication (n=82) and a control group receiving no intervention (n=88). Prior to receiving treatment, anxious-depression severity was associated with under-confidence in performance in the iCBT arm, replicating previous work. From baseline to follow-up, levels of anxious-depression were significantly reduced, and this was accompanied by a significant increase in metacognitive confidence in the iCBT arm (β=0.17, SE=0.02, p<0.001). These changes were correlated (r(647)=-0.12, p=0.002); those with the greatest reductions in anxious-depression levels had the largest increase in confidence. While the three-way interaction effect of group and time on confidence was not significant (F(2, 1632)=0.60, p=0.550), confidence increased in the antidepressant group (β=0.31, SE = 0.08, p<0.001), but not among controls (β=0.11, SE = 0.07, p=0.103). Metacognitive biases in anxious-depression are state-dependent; when symptoms improve with treatment, so does confidence in performance. Our results suggest this is not specific to the type of intervention.

Type: Article
Title: An observational treatment study of metacognition in anxious-depression
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7554/eLife.87193
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.87193
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023, Fox et al. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10179093
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