Previous research showed that individuals who were remitted from a depressive disorder displayed heightenedattention towards negative adjectives (e.g., worthless). We tested if this attentional bias (AB) is predictive offuture recurrence of depressive episodes and/or having depressive symptoms at 2- and 4-year follow-up. We useda longitudinal approach within the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA) and selected parti-cipants who were remitted from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (n = 918). AB was measured with a verbalExogenous Cueing Task; using 2 presentation times (500 and 1250 ms) and 3 stimulus types (negative, positive,neutral). Over 4 years, we prospectively assessed recurrence of depressive episodes and depressive symptoma-tology after participants completed the ECT. Diagnosis of depressive disorder was measured with clinical rating-scales and self-report questionnaires. A heightened probability of recurrence was neither associated with(heightened) AB for negative nor with (lowered) AB for positive adjectives. Thus, thefindings do not support theview that an AB toward negative stimuli or away from positive stimuli plays a critical role in the recurrence ofdepression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • cognitive vulnerability
  • attention bias
  • memory bias
  • anxiety
  • netherlands
  • mood disorders
  • depressive disorders


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