MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Can increased cognitive load help people with subthreshold depression to forget negative information?

    Hu, Yixin and Wu, Xiao and Chen, Xu and Maguire, Phil and Wang, Dawei (2021) Can increased cognitive load help people with subthreshold depression to forget negative information? Journal of Affective Disorders, 283. pp. 384-394. ISSN 0165-0327

    Download (884kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Background: Given that major depression is a global public health problem, and that sub-threshold depression (SD) has been shown to be a significant risk indicator of major depression disorder, the awareness of SD interventions has increased. The current study explored the effect of increasing cognitive load on the forgetting of unwanted and negative memories of sub-threshold depression individuals (SDs) (Study 1) and proposed a cognitive load intervention (CLI) (study 2). Methods: 53 SDs and 52 normal participants were recruited to explore the effect of cognitive load on the directed forgetting of negative items (Study 1). The treatment effect of CLI on 62 SDs was investigated. SDs completed up to 8 CLI/control sessions over an 8-week period while regularly recording their depression symptoms (Study 2). Results: The results showed that it is more difficult for SDs to forget negative ‘to-be-forgotten’ items than normal controls (F (1, 99) = 27.98, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.22). In study 1, increasing cognitive load promoted directed forgetting for negative items in SDs. Study 2 showed that there were significant reductions in depression symptoms of SDs over the 8-week CLI (e.g. BDI-II scores: F (1, 60) = 99.93, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.63). Limitations: Small sample size and lack of verification by neuroimaging may limit the generalizability of these results. Conclusions: The study revealed that increasing cognitive load can promote SDs to forget negative information, while the CLI project effectively reduced the depression level of SDs, thus providing encouraging initial support for its use in the treatment of SD.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Yixin Hu, Xiao Wu, Xu Chen, Phil Maguire, Dawei Wang, Can increased cognitive load help people with subthreshold depression to forget negative information?, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 283, 2021, Pages 384-394, ISSN 0165-0327,
    Keywords: Sub-threshold depression; Cognitive load; Directed-forgetting; Cognitive load intervention;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Computer Science
    Item ID: 17472
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Phil Maguire
    Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2023 10:25
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Affective Disorders
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads