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JMIR Ment Health. 2017 Jun 30;4(2):e26. doi: 10.2196/mental.7722.

Preferences for Internet-Based Mental Health Interventions in an Adult Online Sample: Findings From an Online Community Survey.

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Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University, Acton ACT, Australia.



Despite extensive evidence that Internet interventions are effective in treating mental health problems, uptake of Internet programs is suboptimal. It may be possible to make Internet interventions more accessible and acceptable through better understanding of community preferences for delivery of online programs.


This study aimed to assess community preferences for components, duration, frequency, modality, and setting of Internet interventions for mental health problems.


A community-based online sample of 438 Australian adults was recruited using social media advertising and administered an online survey on preferences for delivery of Internet interventions, along with scales assessing potential correlates of these preferences.


Participants reported a preference for briefer sessions, although they recognized a trade-off between duration and frequency of delivery. No clear preference for the modality of delivery emerged, although a clear majority preferred tailored programs. Participants preferred to access programs through a computer rather than a mobile device. Although most participants reported that they would seek help for a mental health problem, more participants had a preference for face-to-face sources only than online programs only. Younger, female, and more educated participants were significantly more likely to prefer Internet delivery.


Adults in the community have a preference for Internet interventions with short modules that are tailored to individual needs. Individuals who are reluctant to seek face-to-face help may also avoid Internet interventions, suggesting that better implementation of existing Internet programs requires increasing acceptance of Internet interventions and identifying specific subgroups who may be resistant to seeking help.


Internet interventions; anxiety; depression; mental health services; preferences

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