Background: Identifying depressed patients unlikely to reach remission and those likely to relapse after reaching remission is of great importance, but there are few pre-treatment factors that can help clinicians predict prognosis and together these explain relatively little variance in treatment outcomes. Attentional control has shown promise in studies to date, but has not been investigated prospectively in routine clinical settings with depressed patients. Aims: This study aimed to pilot the use of a brief self-report measure of attentional control in routine care and investigate the associations between attentional control, psychological treatment response and relapse to depression up to 1 year post-treatment. Method: Depressed patients were recruited from two primary care psychological treatment (IAPT) services and completed the Attentional Control Scale (ACS) alongside routine symptom measures at every therapy session. Participants were tracked and followed up for 1 year post-treatment. Results: Baseline ACS scores were associated with remission and residual depressive symptoms post-treatment, and relapse within 12 months of ending treatment, all independent of pre-treatment depressive symptom severity, and the latter also independent of residual symptoms. Conclusion: A self-report measure of attentional control can potentially be used to predict levels of depressive symptoms post-treatment and can contribute to predicting risk of relapse to depression in IAPT services, without affecting rates of therapy completion/drop-out or data completion of standard IAPT measures. However, this pilot study had a small overall sample size and a very small number of observed relapses, so replication in a larger study is needed before firm conclusions can be made.
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