Impacts of Competitive Memory Training Program on Interpretation-bias in Cancer Patients with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Student in Cognitive Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Institute of Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Tarbiat Modares University

3 Institute for cognitive science and study


Introduction: According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), serious medical diseases, such as cancer, can be considered as a traumatic event while perceived as unexpected, sudden, and life-threatening. Diagnosis of life-threatening disease like cancer, can lead to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a  competitive memory training (COMET) as an intervention on changing interpretation bias among newly diagnosed cancer patients suffering from PTSD.
Method: By a semi-experimental design a sample size of 60 newly diagnosed cancer patients suffering from PSTD were selected and randomly divided into the COMET group (N = 30) or the MEmory Specificity Training (MEST) group (N = 30). Pre-assessment included a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL) and a series of short clips applied to measure interpretation bias in the subjects. The COMET group received 6 weekly 45 min individual sessions, while the MEST group undergone 7 weekly 45 min individual sessions. All the assessments were re-conducted in the post-treatment and three-months follow-up stages. Data were analysed using mixed ANOVA analysis.
Results: The results indicated that COMET intervention significantly reduced the interpretation bias extent in the cancer patients with PTSD symptoms compared to the control  MEST group.
Conclusion: We concluded that COMET intervention can be used as an effective intervention to alleviate the interpretation bias among cancer-related post-traumatic stress disorder patients.


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