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J Med Internet Res. 2012 Jun 7;14(3):e86. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2033.

Effectiveness of an online group course for depression in adolescents and young adults: a randomized trial.

Author information

  • 1Centre of Mental Health of Youth and Adolescents, Trimbos Institute, Utrecht, Netherlands. rzanden@trimbos.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Depression is a serious mental health problem, whose first onset is usually in adolescence. Online treatment may offer a solution for the current undertreatment of depression in youth. For adults with depressive symptoms, the effectiveness of Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy has been demonstrated. This study is one of the first randomized controlled trials to investigate the effectiveness online depression treatment for young people with depressive complaints and the first to focus on an online group course.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate and discuss the effectiveness of a guided Web-based group course called Grip op Je Dip (Master Your Mood [MYM]), designed for young people aged 16 to 25 years with depressive symptoms, in comparison with a wait-listed control group.

METHODS:

We randomly assigned 244 young people with depressive symptoms to the online MYM course or to a waiting-list control condition. The primary outcome measure was treatment outcome after 3 months on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Secondary outcomes were anxiety (measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and mastery (Mastery Scale). We studied the maintenance of effects in the MYM group 6 months after baseline. Missing data were imputed.

RESULTS:

The MYM group (n = 121) showed significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms at 3 months than the control group (n = 123) (t(187 )= 6.62, P < .001), with a large between-group effect size of d = 0.94 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.64-1.23). The MYM group also showed greater improvement in anxiety (t(187 )= 3.80, P < .001, d = 0.49, 95% CI 0.24-0.75) and mastery (t(187 )= 3.36, P = .001, d = 0.44, 95% CI 0.19-0.70). At 12 weeks, 56% (68/121) of the participants in the MYM group and 20% (24/123) in the control group showed reliable and clinically significant change. This between-group difference was significant (χ(2) (1 )= 35.0, P < .001) and yielded a number needed to treat of 2.7. Improvements in the MYM group were maintained at 6 months. A limitation is the infeasibility of comparing the 6-month outcomes of the MYM and control groups, as the controls had access to MYM after 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS:

The online group course MYM was effective in reducing depressive symptoms and anxiety and in increasing mastery in young people. These effects persisted in the MYM group at 6 months.

PMID:
22677437
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3414873
Free PMC Article

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