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J Med Internet Res. 2013 Nov 19;15(11):e258. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2564.

Comparing in-person to videoconference-based cognitive behavioral therapy for mood and anxiety disorders: randomized controlled trial.

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School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia.



Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has demonstrated efficacy and effectiveness for treating mood and anxiety disorders. Dissemination of CBT via videoconference may help improve access to treatment.


The present study aimed to compare the effectiveness of CBT administered via videoconference to in-person therapy for a mixed diagnostic cohort.


A total of 26 primarily Caucasian clients (mean age 30 years, SD 11) who had a primary Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition text revision (DSM-IV-TR) diagnosis of a mood or anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to receive 12 sessions of CBT either in-person or via videoconference. Treatment involved individualized CBT formulations specific to the presenting diagnosis; all sessions were provided by the same therapist. Participants were recruited through a university clinic. Symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and quality of life were assessed using questionnaires before, after, and 6 weeks following treatment. Secondary outcomes at posttreatment included working alliance and client satisfaction.


Retention was similar across treatment conditions; there was one more client in the videoconferencing condition at posttreatment and at follow-up. Statistical analysis using multilevel mixed effects linear regression indicated a significant reduction in client symptoms across time for symptoms of depression (P<.001, d=1.41), anxiety (P<.001, d=1.14), stress (P<.001, d=1.81), and quality of life (P<.001, d=1.17). There were no significant differences between treatment conditions regarding symptoms of depression (P=.165, d=0.37), anxiety (P=.41, d=0.22), stress (P=.15, d=0.38), or quality of life (P=.62, d=0.13). There were no significant differences in client rating of the working alliance (P=.53, one-tailed, d=-0.26), therapist ratings of the working alliance (P=.60, one-tailed, d=0.23), or client ratings of satisfaction (P=.77, one-tailed, d=-0.12). Fisher's Exact P was not significant regarding differences in reliable change from pre- to posttreatment or from pretreatment to follow-up for symptoms of depression (P=.41, P=.26), anxiety (P=.60, P=.99), or quality of life (P=.65, P=.99) but was significant for symptoms of stress in favor of the videoconferencing condition (P=.03, P=.035). Difference between conditions regarding clinically significant change was also not observed from pre- to posttreatment or from pretreatment to follow-up for symptoms of depression (P=.67, P=.30), anxiety (P=.99, P=.99), stress (P=.19, P=.13), or quality of life (P=.99, P=.62).


The findings of this controlled trial indicate that CBT was effective in significantly reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress and increasing quality of life in both in-person and videoconferencing conditions, with no significant differences being observed between the two.


Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ID: ACTRN12609000819224; (Archived by WebCite at


anxiety; cognitive behavioral therapy; mood disorder; telepsychology; videoconferencing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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