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Journal Article


Zhang M, Ying J, Wing T, Song G, Fung DSS, Smith H. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(6): e15061138.


Family Medicine & Primary Care, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University Singapore, Singapore 308232, Singapore.


(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Background: Opiates, cannabis, and amphetamines are highly abused, and use of these substances are prevalent disorders. Psychological interventions are crucial given that they help individuals maintain abstinence following a lapse or relapse into substance use. Advances in experimental psychology have suggested that automatic attention biases might be responsible for relapse. Prior reviews have provided evidence for the presence of these biases in addictive disorders and the effectiveness of bias modification. However, the prior studies are limited, as they failed to include trials involving participants with these prevalent addictive disorders or have failed to adopt a systematic approach in evidence synthesis. Objectives: The primary aim of this current systematic review is to synthesise the current evidence for attention biases amongst opioid use, cannabis use, and stimulant use disorders. The secondary aim is to determine the efficacy of attention bias modification interventions and other addictions related outcomes. Methods: A search was conducted from November 2017 to January 2018 on PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Science Direct, Cochrane Central, and Scopus. The selection process of the articles was in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. A qualitative synthesis was undertaken. Risk of bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Results: Six randomised trials were identified. The evidence synthesized from these trials have provided strong evidence that attentional biases are present in opioid and stimulant use disorders. Evidence synthesis for other secondary outcome measures could not be performed given the heterogeneity in the measures reported and the limited number of trials. The risk of bias assessment for the included trials revealed a high risk of selection and attrition bias. Conclusions: This review demonstrates the potential need for interventions targeting attention biases in opiate and cocaine use disorders.

Language: en


addiction; attention bias; cannabis; cognitive bias; opioids; stimulants


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