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Clin Psychol Rev. 2012 Aug;32(6):454-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 May 26.

The potential of telemental health applications for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Freiburg, Germany.



Only a small percentage of patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) receive adequate treatment. Reasons include a high level of shame and stigmatisation and the paucity of specialised treatment services. Telemental health (TMH) treatment could improve the therapeutic situation as has been shown for various mental disorders. This review critically evaluates the current body of evidence on TMH applications for OCD patients. The review focuses on studies that include exposure therapy with response prevention as the best validated treatment component.


Relevant publications were identified through computerised searches of the databases PsycINFO and PubMed and manual searches. No date or study type restrictions were applied.


Twenty-four studies on different types of TMH applications were identified: bibliotherapy (7), telephone-delivered (11), computer-aided (3), online self-help group (1) and video-conference (2). Nearly all interventions lead to a significant improvement of OC symptoms. Effect sizes ranged from 0.46 to 2.5.


Preliminary evidence suggests that TMH applications represent a low-threshold, efficacious, time-effective and economic treatment for patients with OCD. Future studies are needed to further investigate the potential of TMH treatment to improve health care for patients with OCD.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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