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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 60 (2018) 6, 403 - 410


Ten years of cognitive control training for depression: an overview of findings and challenges

K. Hoorelbeke, E.H.W. Koster

background 2007 marks a shift in scientific literature on the cognitive vulnerabilities of depression. Preceded by a vast amount of studies exploring neuroplasticity and cognitive transfer effects, Siegle e.a. (Cognit Ther Res 2007; 31: 235-62) published the findings of a proof-of-principle study in which cognitive control training (cct) was applied to treat depression. This denotes an evolution towards clinically oriented cct studies targeting reduction of the vulnerability mechanisms of depression. Following this publication, several studies tested the effects of cct on emotional vulnerability. These studies show great variability.
aim This article provides an overview summarizing the findings of cct for depression published in the last 10 years.
method The results of a recently conducted systematic review were reviewed, with a particular interest in clinical implications and challenges.
results cct shows beneficial effects on indicators of depression vulnerability (e.g., stress reactivity, rumination, symptomatology). Associated literature underlines the importance of intensive training procedures, use of an affective task context and task motivation.
conclusion cct shows potential as a clinical intervention for depression. However, several questions still need to be addressed before implementation into clinical practice is warranted.

keywords cognitive control, cognitive training, depression, rumination