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J Med Internet Res. 2013 Aug 5;15(8):e153. doi: 10.2196/jmir.2714.

The clinical effectiveness of web-based cognitive behavioral therapy with face-to-face therapist support for depressed primary care patients: randomized controlled trial.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway. ragnhild.s.hoifodt@uit.no

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Most patients with mild to moderate depression receive treatment in primary care, but despite guideline recommendations, structured psychological interventions are infrequently delivered. Research supports the effectiveness of Internet-based treatment for depression; however, few trials have studied the effect of the MoodGYM program plus therapist support. The use of such interventions could improve the delivery of treatment in primary care.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of a guided Web-based intervention for mild to moderate depression, which could be suitable for implementation in general practice.

METHODS:

Participants (N=106) aged between 18 and 65 years were recruited from primary care and randomly allocated to a treatment condition comprising 6 weeks of therapist-assisted Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or to a 6-week delayed treatment condition. The intervention included the Norwegian version of the MoodGYM program, brief face-to-face support from a psychologist, and reminder emails. The primary outcome measure, depression symptoms, was measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Secondary outcome measures included the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and the EuroQol Group 5-Dimension Self-Report Questionnaire (EQ-5D). All outcomes were based on self-report and were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and at 6-month follow-up.

RESULTS:

Postintervention measures were completed by 37 (71%) and 47 (87%) of the 52 participants in the intervention and 54 participants in the delayed treatment group, respectively. Linear mixed-models analyses revealed a significant difference in time trends between the groups for the BDI-II, (P=.002), for HADS depression and anxiety subscales (P<.001 and P=.001, respectively), and for the SWLS (P<.001). No differential group effects were found for the BAI and the EQ-5D. In comparison to the control group, significantly more participants in the intervention group experienced recovery from depression as measured by the BDI-II. Of the 52 participants in the treatment program, 31 (60%) adhered to the program, and overall treatment satisfaction was high. The reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms was largely maintained at 6-month follow-up, and positive gains in life satisfaction were partly maintained.

CONCLUSIONS:

The intervention combining MoodGYM and brief therapist support can be an effective treatment of depression in a sample of primary care patients. The intervention alleviates depressive symptoms and has a significant positive effect on anxiety symptoms and satisfaction with life. Moderate rates of nonadherence and predominately positive evaluations of the treatment also indicate the acceptability of the intervention. The intervention could potentially be used in a stepped-care approach, but remains to be tested in regular primary health care.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12610000257066; http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/trial.aspx?trialid=ACTRN12610000257066 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6Ie3YhIZa).

KEYWORDS:

Internet; cognitive therapy; computer-assisted; depression; mental health; primary health care; randomized controlled trial; therapy

PMID:
23916965
PMCID:
PMC3742404
DOI:
10.2196/jmir.2714
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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