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Behav Cogn Psychother. 2009 May;37(3):335-40. doi: 10.1017/S1352465809005293. Epub 2009 May 6.

Cognitive-behavioural bibliotherapy for hypochondriasis: a pilot study.

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Department of Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Groningen University, The Netherlands.



The present study aims to determine whether cognitive-behavioural minimal contact bibliotherapy is acceptable to participants suffering from DSM-IV-TR hypochondriasis, and whether this intervention is able to reduce hypochondriacal complaints, as well as comorbid depressive complaints and trait anxiety.


Participants were assigned to either an immediate treatment condition, or subsequently to a waiting list condition. Participants were sent a book, Doctor, I Hope it's Nothing Serious?, containing cognitive behavioural theory and exercises. Measures were taken pre, post and at follow-up (after 3 months). Those in the waiting list group received a second pre-assessment, and were then enrolled in the bibliotherapy.


Results showed that participants were accepting of the cognitive-behavioural theory. Furthermore, results showed beneficial effects of the intervention: all effect measures decreased significantly over time, with the largest effect at post-assessment. However, a large amount of questionnaires were not returned.


It is concluded that bibliotherapy may be an efficient aid in reducing hypochondriacal and comorbid complaints, but due to data attrition and methodological flaws should first be studied further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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