Attentional bias modification training for insomnia: A double-blind placebo controlled randomized trial

Jaap Lancee, Samya L. Yasiney, Ruben S. Brendel, Marilisa Boffo, Patrick J.F. Clarke, Elske Salemink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Attentional bias toward sleep-related information is believed to play a key role in insomnia. If attentional bias is indeed of importance, changing this bias should then in turn have effects on insomnia complaints. In this double-blind placebo controlled randomized trial we investigated the efficacy of attentional bias modification training in the treatment of insomnia. Method: We administered baseline, post-test, and one-week follow-up measurements of insomnia severity, sleep-related worry, depression, and anxiety. Participants meeting DSM-5 criteria for insomnia were randomized into an attentional bias training group (n = 67) or a placebo training group (n = 70). Both groups received eight training sessions over the course of two weeks. All participants kept a sleep diary for four consecutive weeks (one week before until one week after the training sessions). Results: There was no additional benefit for the attentional bias training over the placebo training on sleep-related indices/outcome measures. Conclusions: The absence of the effect may be explained by the fact that there was neither attentional bias at baseline nor any reduction in the bias after the training. Either way, this study gives no support for attentional bias modification training as a stand-alone intervention for ameliorating insomnia complaints.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0174531
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2017


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