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Cyberpsychol Behav. 2008 Apr;11(2):188-95. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0025.

Lessons learned: the effect of prior technology use on Web-based interventions.

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Department of Pediatric Rehabilitation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


This study examined the role of regular prior technology use in treatment response to an online family problem-solving (OFPS) intervention and an Internet resource intervention (IRI) for pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants were 150 individuals in 40 families of children with TBI randomly assigned to OFPS intervention or an IRI. All families received free computers and Internet access to TBI resources. OFPS families received Web-based sessions and therapist-guided synchronous videoconferences focusing on problem solving, communication skills, and behavior management. All participants completed measures of depression, anxiety, and computer usage. OFPS participants rated treatment satisfaction, therapeutic alliance, and Web site and technology comfort. With the OFPS intervention, depression and anxiety improved significantly more among technology using parents (n = 14) than nontechnology users (n = 6). Technology users reported increasing comfort with technology over time, and this change was predictive of depression at followup. Satisfaction and ease-of-use ratings did not differ by technology usage. Lack of regular prior home computer usage and nonadherence were predictive of anxiety at followup. The IRI was not globally effective. However, controlling for prior depression, age, and technology at work, there was a significant effect of technology at home for depression. Families with technology experience at home (n = 11) reported significantly greater improvements in depression than families without prior technology experience at home (n = 8). Although Web-based OFPS was effective in improving caregiver functioning, individuals with limited computer experience may benefit less from an online intervention due to increased nonadherence.

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