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Behav Res Ther. 2012 Aug;50(7-8):513-21. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.04.006. Epub 2012 May 3.

A randomized controlled trial of internet-based therapy in depression.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Depression is among the most prevalent disorders worldwide. In view of numerous treatment barriers, internet-based interventions are increasingly adopted to "treat the untreated". The present trial (registered as NCT01401296) was conducted over the internet and aimed to assess the efficacy of an online self-help program for depression (Deprexis). In random order, participants with elevated depression symptoms received program access or were allocated to a wait-list control condition. After eight weeks, participants were invited to take part in an online re-assessment. To compensate for common problems of online studies, such as low completion rates and unclear diagnostic status, reminders and incentives were used, and clinical diagnoses were externally confirmed in a subgroup of 29% of participants. Relative to the wait-list group, program users experienced significant symptom decline on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; primary outcome), the Dysfunctional Attitudes Scale (DAS), the Quality of Life scale (WHOQOL-BREF) and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSE). Compared to wait-list participants, symptom decline was especially pronounced among those with moderate symptoms at baseline as well as those not currently consulting a therapist. Completion (82%) and re-test reliability of the instruments (r = .72-.87) were good. The results of this trial suggest that online treatment can be beneficial for people with depression, particularly for those with moderate symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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