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Psychol Med. 2008 May;38(5):635-9. doi: 10.1017/S0033291707002590. Epub 2008 Jan 21.

One-year follow-up results of a randomized controlled clinical trial on internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy for subthreshold depression in people over 50 years.

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Department of Psychology and Health, Tilburg University, The Netherlands.



Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a promising new approach for the treatment of depressive symptoms. The current study had two aims: (1) to determine whether, after 1 year, an internet-based CBT intervention was more effective than a waiting-list control group; and (2) to determine whether the effect of the internet-based CBT differed from the group CBT intervention, 1 year after the start of treatment.


A total of 191 women and 110 men (mean age=55 years, s.d.=4.6) with subthreshold depression were randomized into internet-based treatment, group CBT (Lewinsohn's Coping with Depression Course), or a waiting-list control condition. The main outcome measure was treatment response after 1 year, defined as the difference in pretreatment and follow-up scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Missing data were imputed using the multiple imputation procedure of data augmentation. Analyses were performed using multiple imputation inference.


In the waiting-list control group, we found a pretreatment to follow-up improvement effect size of 0.69, which was 0.62 in the group CBT condition and 1.22 with the internet-based treatment condition. Simple contrasts showed a significant difference between the waiting-list condition and internet-based treatment (p=0.03) and no difference between both treatment conditions (p=0.08).


People aged over 50 years with subthreshold depression can still benefit from internet-based CBT 1 year after the start of treatment.

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