The Brain Games: Using brain training to prevent adolescent mental illness

April 2015

Dr Louise Mewton
Professor Maree Teesson

Other Collaborators: 

Lumos Labs Inc:
Dr Antoinette Hodge
Dr Nicola Gates

Project description: 

Emerging research suggests that deficits in executive functioning are a core feature of mental disorders across the full spectrum of psychopathology. Cognitive training exercises that focus on improving executive functioning have been shown to reduce symptoms related to schizophrenia, major depression and ADHD, as well as eliciting changes in alcohol consumption. However, it is not yet clear whether such training is also effective in preventing the onset of psychological symptoms and substance use in adolescents at risk for developing a broad range of psychopathology. The current study will evaluate a personality-targeted mental health prevention program based on cognitive training tasks and delivered to adolescents at risk for developing a range of psychopathology. It is expected that a targeted cognitive training program will prevent the onset of a range of mental illnesses and substance misuse in high risk youth.

In a sample of adolescents (n=220), the current study will examine whether cognitive training is effective in reducing a range of psychopathology in youth at high risk for developing a mental illness, as determined by a standardised measure of personality.