Cognitive Bias Modification to relieve fatigue symptoms: preliminary results from a self-identity fatigue IAT

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Background. Fatigue is a common and invalidating symptom in chronic diseases. Recent studies suggest that fatigue may be perpetuated by associative processes, such as attentional bias. Based on Pincus’ Schema Enmeshment Model for pain, we hypothesized that frequent fatigue experiences lead to a self-as-fatigued identity bias, which in turn might drive perceptions and avoidance behaviors that perpetuate symptoms. Emerging evidence shows that such cognitive biases may be mitigated through Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM). In four studies we validated a Self-Identity IAT (SI-IAT) to measure a bias towards fatigue, and tested an IAT-based CBM to retrain fatigue bias towards vitality.Methods. In two cross-sectional studies among volunteers with varying fatigue (N=30/84), the SI-IAT was validated by correlating IAT D-scores with self-reported fatigue (CIS) and vitality (SVS). Immediate effect of a single CBM-IAT session on fatigue bias and symptoms was tested among volunteers in an experimental 2 (pre-post) X 2 (vitality vs. fatigue training; N=60) study, and a single-group pre-post vitality-training (N=63) study. Findings. Correlations between SI-IAT and CIS/SVS were found non-significant. The experimental study showed positive CBM effects on fatigue bias (p=.058) and self-reported vitality (p=.002), but not on self-reported fatigue (p=.11). The pre-post study revealed decreased fatigue bias after CBM (p<.001), but no changes in self-reported measures.Discussion. These studies tentatively suggest that subjective fatigue is affected by an implicit self-identity fatigue bias, and that such a bias may be corrected with CBM. Further studies should explore validity and reliability of the SI-IAT, as well as sustained CBM effects.
Period21 Aug 201825 Aug 2018
Event title32nd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society 2018: Health Psychology Across The Lifespan: Uniting Research, Practice and Policy
Event typeConference
Conference number32
LocationGalway, IrelandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational