Bias-contingent attention bias modification and attention control training in treatment of PTSD: a randomized control trial

Amit Lazarov*, Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez, Rany Abend, Reut Naim, Erel Shvil, Liat Helpman, Xi Zhu, Santiago Papini, Ariel Duroski, Rony Rom, Franklin R. Schneier, Daniel S. Pine, Yair Bar-Haim, Yuval Neria

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Randomized control trials (RCTs) comparing attention control training (ACT) and attention bias modification (ABM) in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have shown mixed results. The current RCT extends the extant literature by comparing the efficacy of ACT and a novel bias-contingent-ABM (BC-ABM), in which direction of training is contingent upon the direction of pre-treatment attention bias (AB), in a sample of civilian patients with PTSD.Methods Fifty treatment-seeking civilian patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to either ACT or BC-ABM. Clinician and self-report measures of PTSD and depression, as well as AB and attention bias variability (ABV), were acquired pre- and post-treatment.Results ACT yielded greater reductions in PTSD and depressive symptoms on both clinician-rated and self-reported measures compared with BC-ABM. The BC-ABM condition successfully shifted ABs in the intended training direction. In the ACT group, there was no significant change in ABV or AB from pre- to post-treatment.Conclusions The current RCT extends previous results in being the first to apply ABM that is contingent upon AB at pre-treatment. This personalized BC-ABM approach is associated with significant reductions in symptoms. However, ACT produces even greater reductions, thereby emerging as a promising treatment for PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2432-2440
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


FundersFunder number
Stand for the Troops Foundation
National Institute of Mental HealthT32MH020004, T32-MH015144


    • Attention bias modification (ABM)
    • attention bias
    • attention control training (ACT)
    • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • randomized control trial (RCT)


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