Publications by authors named "Isobel M Wright"

2 Publications

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The early course and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in very young children: diagnostic prevalence and predictors in hospital-attending children and a randomized controlled proof-of-concept trial of trauma-focused cognitive therapy, for 3- to 8-year-olds.

J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2021 Jun 14. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Background: The introduction of developmentally adapted criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has improved the identification of ≤6-year-old children with clinical needs. Across two studies, we assess predictors of the development of PTSD in young children (PTSD-YC), including the adult-led acute stress disorder (ASD) diagnosis, and provide proof of principle for cognitive-focused therapy for this age range, with the aim of increasing treatment options for children diagnosed with PTSD-YC.

Method: Study 1 (N = 105) assessed ASD and PTSD-YC diagnosis in 3- to 8-year-old children within one month and at around three months following attendance at an emergency room. Study 2 (N = 37) was a preregistered ( randomized controlled early-phase trial comparing CBT-3M, a cognitive-focused intervention, to treatment-as-usual (TAU) delivered within the UK NHS to 3- to 8-year-olds diagnosed with PTSD-YC.

Results: In Study 1, the ASD diagnosis failed to identify any young children. In contrast, prevalence of acute PTSD-YC (minus the duration requirement) was 8.6% in the first month post-trauma and 10.1% at 3 months. Length of hospital stay, but no other demographic or trauma-related characteristics, predicted development of later PTSD-YC. Early (within one month) diagnosis of acute PTSD-YC had a positive predictive value of 50% for later PTSD-YC. In Study 2, most children lost their PTSD-YC diagnosis following completion of CBT-3M (84.6%) relative to TAU (6.7%) and CBT-3M was acceptable to recipient families. Effect sizes were also in favor of CBT-3M for secondary outcome measures.

Conclusions: The ASD diagnosis is not fit for purpose in this age-group. There was a strong and encouraging signal of putative efficacy for young children treated using a cognitive-focused treatment for PTSD, and a larger trial of CBT-3M is now warranted.
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June 2021

A randomised controlled trial of memory flexibility training (MemFlex) to enhance memory flexibility and reduce depressive symptomatology in individuals with major depressive disorder.

Behav Res Ther 2018 11 29;110:22-30. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom.

Successful navigation within the autobiographical memory store is integral to daily cognition. Impairment in the flexibility of memory retrieval can thereby have a detrimental impact on mental health. This randomised controlled phase II exploratory trial (N = 60) evaluated the potential of a novel intervention drawn from basic science - an autobiographical Memory Flexibility (MemFlex) training programme - which sought to ameliorate memory difficulties and improve symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. MemFlex was compared to Psychoeducation (an evidence-based low-intensity intervention) to determine the likely range of effects on a primary cognitive target of memory flexibility at post-intervention, and co-primary clinical targets of self-reported depressive symptoms and diagnostic status at three-month follow-up. These effect sizes could subsequently be used to estimate sample size for a fully-powered trial. Results demonstrated small-moderate, though as expected statistically non-significant, effect sizes in favour of MemFlex for memory flexibility (d = 0.34, p = .20), and loss of diagnosis (OR = 0.65, p = .48), along with the secondary outcome of depression-free days (d = 0.36, p = .18). A smaller effect size was observed for between-group difference in self-reported depressive symptoms (d = 0.24, p = .35). Effect sizes in favour of MemFlex in this early-stage trial suggest that fully-powered evaluation of MemFlex may be warranted as an avenue to improving low-intensity treatment of depression.

Trial Registration:, Identifier NCT02371291.
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November 2018