Mobile Intepretation Bias Modification Clinical Trial
Principal Investigator: 

Daniel Capron

Organization: 
University of Southern Mississippi

The suicide rate for National Guard personnel is consistently one of the highest in the United States Armed Forces. National Guard members are also unlikely to seek out mental health services, so alternative interventions are needed. Further, there are several factors associated with suicide risk that are not modifiable and yet, in contrast anxiety sensitivity cognitive concerns (ASCC) has been shown to be ameliorated with a brief intervention. Reducing ASCC through brief, computer-delivered interventions, such as interpretation bias modification, may lead to significant and enduring reductions in suicidal ideation.

Dr. Daniel Capron, a psychologist at the University of Southern Mississippi, aims to address barriers to National Guard personnel accessing services and their increased risk for suicide by studying the utility of mobile technology (e.g., smartphones) that targets ASCC among this population. Dr. Capron plans to test a smartphone-delivered mobile interpretation bias modification intervention (M-IBM) against a control IBM (C-IBM) to determine if the M-IBM is acceptable and usable as a brief intervention among this sample and is efficacious in reducing ASCC compared to the C-IBM at 1-month and 3-month follow-ups. This intervention is also quite brief, requiring approximately 15-20 minutes of time, which allows individuals to access a treatment with ease and discretion. Dr. Capron and colleagues will recruit 114 Mississippi National Guard members with elevated ASCC and the presence of suicidal ideation. Dr. Capron will then examine whether the M-IBM results in a reduction in suicide risk across the length of the study.

This study is novel and necessary for several reasons. Many National Guard units are geographically dispersed making it hard to assess changes in suicide risk and treat individuals effectively as they enter high-risk status. The effectiveness of mobile interventions among this population are also currently understudied and if efficacious, acceptable, and usable, it will provide the military an invaluable product. This would be an extremely brief, low-cost, low-stigma, and highly scalable intervention for suicide risk.