The new research focuses on the use of self-help books as a preventative intervention for people at risk of developing depression. Gerald Haeffel identified 72 undergrads at risk and allocated each of them randomly to work through one of three self-help books. A third of the students spent four weeks working through a traditional self-help CBT-based book, of the kind typically found in book stores, which involved learning the links between thoughts, behaviour and mood, as well as identifying negative thoughts and re-evaluating them. Another group of students followed a 'non-traditional' CBT-based self-help book, similar to the first but modified so that the task of identifying and challenging one's own negative thoughts was removed. The final group followed a book that taught academic skills such as time-management and memory aids.
The bottom line - among students who tended to ruminate and who had suffered an increase in stress, those who followed the traditional CBT book displayed more depressive symptoms after the four-week study period than those who followed either of the other two books. At four-month follow-up, the traditional CBT study group as a whole tended to have more depression symptoms than the other groups, although high ruminating and stressed students in the traditional group remained the biggest losers...
'The current results suggest that cognitive work-books as traditionally operationalised (and sold in stores) may not work for individuals who ruminate,' Haeffel said. 'For these individuals, a modified form of cognitive skills training that does not rely on identifying and disputing negative cognitions may be more effective.'
uit: CBT-based self-help books can do more harm than good Of de abstract van de studie: Haeffel, G. (2010). When self-help is no help: Traditional cognitive skills training does not prevent depressive symptoms in people who ruminate. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48 (2), 152-157
These findings indicate that rumination may hinder ones ability to identify and dispute negative thoughts (at least without the help of a trained professional). The results underscore the importance of identifying individual difference variables that moderate intervention efficacy. They also raise concerns about the potential benefits of self-help books, an industry that generates billions of dollars each year.
Enkele maanden geleden werd trouwens ook al aangetoond dat zogenaamde positieve mantra's (bv. blijven herhalen 'ik ben een geliefd persoon') mensen met een lage zelfwaardering nog verder 'naar beneden kan halen'...
(Positive Self-Statements: Power for Some, Peril for Others, Wood et all, Psychological Science Volume 20 Issue 7, Pages 860 - 866, 21 May 2009)
Dus: diegenen die de zelfhulp eigenlijk het meest nodig zouden hebben, ervaren blijkbaar de meeste schade erdoor...