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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021274. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Self-guided psychological treatment for depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. p.cuijpers@psy.vu.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A number of trials have examined the effects of self-guided psychological intervention, without any contact between the participants and a therapist or coach. The results and sizes of these trials have been mixed. This is the first quantitative meta-analysis, aimed at organizing and evaluating the literature, and estimating effect size.

METHOD:

We conducted systematic literature searches in PubMed, PsycINFO and Embase up to January 2010, and identified additional studies through earlier meta-analyses, and the references of included studies. We identified seven randomized controlled trials that met our inclusion criteria, with a total of 1,362 respondents. The overall quality of the studies was high. A post-hoc power calculation showed that the studies had sufficient statistical power to detect an effect size of d = 0.19.

RESULTS:

The overall mean effect size indicating the difference between self-guided psychological treatment and control groups at post-test was d = 0.28 (p<0.001), which corresponds to a NNT of 6.41. At 4 to 12 months follow-up the effect size was d = 0.23. There was no indication for significant publication bias.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found evidence that self-guided psychological treatment has a small but significant effect on participants with increased levels of depressive symptomatology.

PMID:
21712998
PMCID:
PMC3119687
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0021274
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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