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Hallford, David J.; Austin, David W.; Raes, Filip and Takano, Keisuke (2019): Computerised memory specificity training (c-MeST) for the treatment of major depression: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. In: BMJ Open, Vol. 9, No. 2, e024508 [PDF, 425kB]


Introduction Major depression is a prevalent and debilitating disorder, but many sufferers do not receive support or respond to current treatments. The development of easily accessible and low-intensity treatments that have clear cognitive mechanisms of change is indicated. Memory specificity training (MeST) is an intervention for depression that targets deficits in recalling detailed memories of past experiences through repeated practice of autobiographical memory retrieval. This randomised controlled trial will assess the efficacy of an online, computerised version of MeST (c-MeST). Methods and analysis Adults aged 18 and over with a current major depressive episode (MDE) will be recruited and randomised to have access to the seven session, online c-MeST programme for 2 weeks, or to a wait-list control group. The primary outcomes will be diagnostic status of MDE and self-reported depressive symptoms at postintervention. One-month and three-month follow-ups will be collected. Increases in autobiographical memory specificity will be assessed as a mediator of change, as well as other variables thought to contribute to reduced memory specificity, such as rumination and cognitive avoidance. Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been granted by the Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee to conduct the study (ID: 2017_168). The findings will be disseminated through scholarly publications and workshops and will inform future trials, such as with an active comparator or as an adjunct treatment.

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