A randomized controlled trial of cognitive control training (CCT) as an add-on treatment for late-life depression: A study protocol
Number of pages
SourceBMC Psychiatry, 21, (2021), article 596
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
SubjectAll institutes and research themes of the Radboud University Medical Center; Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Background: Already a major health concern, late-life depression (LLD) is expected to form an increasing problem in the aging population. Moreover, despite current treatments, LLD is associated with a poor long-term prognosis and high rate of chronicity. Treatment provision and treatment accordingly warrant improvement, where add-on treatments might contribute to the efficacy of conventional therapies. Although it is known that impaired cognitive control contributes to LDD, it is not targeted sufficiently by current interventions. Research on cognitive control training (CCT) shows promising results on depressive symptoms, cognitive performance, and overall functioning. However, further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of CCT on LLD, its cost-effectiveness, and mechanisms of change. Methods: In the current multicenter randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a between-subjects design participants aged 60 years and over with a current LLD receiving treatment as usual (TAU) are randomized to add-on CCT or placebo training. Randomization is stratified by depression severity. Participants will receive eight online CCT or placebo sessions spread across four consecutive weeks. They will complete a post-training assessment after 1 month and three follow-up assessments scheduled three, six and 12 months after completing the training. We expect CCT and TAU to be more (cost-)effective in reducing depressive symptoms than placebo training and TAU. Additionally, we will be looking at secondary clinical, cognitive and global functioning outcomes and likely mechanisms of change (e.g., improved cognitive functioning, reduced rumination, and improved inhibition of negative stimuli). Discussion: The proposed RCT aims to contribute to the clinical and scientific knowledge on the long-term effects of CCT as an add-on treatment for LLD. Cost-effectiveness is particularly relevant considering the expected volume of the target demographic. The study will be a pragmatic trial with few inclusion restrictions, providing information on feasibility of web-based trainings in clinical settings. The outcomes are potentially generalizable to guidelines for treatment of LLD. Trial registration: This trial is registered in the Netherlands Trial Register (code: NL7639). Registered 3 april 2019.
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