Background and objectives: Improving memory for the content of therapy sessions might increase the effects of psychological interventions. Previous studies showed that healthy individuals who took a memory test (retrieval) of studied material showed better long-term memory retention than individuals who restudied (rehearsal) the material. The aim of the current study was to find out whether we can translate these findings to a subclinical setting. Methods: Individuals with moderate levels of distress were randomized into retrieving (n = 46) or rehearsing (n = 49) four weekly sessions of online Problem-Solving Therapy (PST). Session recall, problem-solving skills and distress were measured at baseline, three days after each session and at one-week follow-up. Results: Retrieval led to overall higher recall, but this difference disappeared when controlling for the time spent on retrieval versus rehearsal. Retrieval did not lead to better problem-solving skills or less distress, compared to rehearsal. Baseline working memory performance moderated the effect of condition on recall after controlling for the time spent on retrieval versus rehearsal: the effect of retrieval compared to rehearsal on recall was larger for individuals with lower working memory performance. Limitations: The sample mostly consisted of university students with overall high working memory scores. Conclusions: This study provided the first evidence that retrieval of the content of PST sessions may lead to better session recall compared to rehearsal of the PST sessions in individuals with a low working memory score. Implications for the use of cognitive support strategies within a therapeutic setting are discussed.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry|
|Early online date||16 May 2019|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2020|
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Problem-solving therapy
- Psychological distress
- Treatment process