A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Attention Training Technique and Mindful Self-Compassion
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- Institutt for psykologi 
The Attention Training Technique (ATT) and Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) are two promising psychological interventions. Metacognitive theory posits that ATT should increase attention flexibility and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. MSC posits that increasing mindfulness and self-compassion should improve mental health. In this randomized controlled trial (RCT), a three-session intervention trial was conducted in which university students were randomly assigned to either an ATT-group (n = 40) or a MSC-group (n = 41). The students were not assessed with diagnostic interviews but had self-reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. Participants listened to audiotapes of ATT and MSC as homework between sessions. Participants in both groups showed significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression accompanied by significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and attention flexibility post-intervention. These results were maintained at six months follow-up. Improvement in attention flexibility was the only significant unique predictor of treatment response. The study supports the use of both ATT and MSC for depression and anxiety. Further, it suggests that symptom improvement is related to changes in attention flexibility across both theoretical frameworks. Future studies should focus on how to strengthen the ability for attention flexibility to optimize treatment for emotional disorder.