Computerized cognitive training in people with depression: a protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Syst Rev. 2022 Jan 6;11(1):6. doi: 10.1186/s13643-021-01872-6.


Background: People with depression often present with concurrent cognitive impairment. Computerized cognitive training (CCT) is a safe and efficacious strategy to maintain or enhance cognitive performance in a range of clinical populations. However, its efficacy in people with depression and how it varies across populations and design factors are currently unclear.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO from inception to 13 July 2021 for randomised controlled trials examining the efficacy of CCT vs any control condition on cognitive, mood, psychiatric symptoms, psychosocial, and daily functioning in adults with depression. Eligible samples include studies specifically targeting people with major depressive disorder as well as those with other diagnoses where at least 50% of the sample meets the clinical criteria for depression, with the exception of major psychiatric disorders or dementia. The primary outcome is change in the overall cognitive performance. Multivariate analyses will be used to examine the effect sizes on each outcome category as well as possible effect modifiers and correlations between categories. The risk of bias will be assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool version 2.

Discussion: To the best of our knowledge, this will be the first systematic review and meta-analysis of narrowly defined CCT across clinical populations with depression. We aim to investigate not only whether CCT is efficacious for cognition, but also how such effects vary across design factors, what other clinically relevant outcomes might respond to CCT, and the extent to which they differ across populations.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42020204209.

Keywords: Computerised cognitive training; Depression; Major depressive disorder; Meta-analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Depression / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic