The clinical effectiveness of CBT-based guided self-help interventions for anxiety and depressive disorders: a systematic review

Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Edinburgh, UK.
Psychological Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.43). 06/2011; 41(11):2239-52. DOI: 10.1017/S0033291711000900
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT)-based guided self-help (GSH) has been suggested to be an effective intervention for mild to moderate anxiety and depression, yet the evidence seems inconclusive, with some studies reporting that GSH is effective and others finding that GSH is ineffective. GSH differs in important respects from other levels of self-help, yet the literature regarding exclusively guided self-help interventions for anxiety and depression has not been reviewed systematically.
A literature search for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining CBT-based GSH interventions for anxiety and depressive disorders was conducted. Multiple electronic databases were searched; several journals spanning key disciplines were hand-searched; reference lists of included review articles were scanned and relevant first authors were contacted.
Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Meta-analysis indicated the effectiveness of GSH at post-treatment, although GSH was found to have limited effectiveness at follow-up or among more clinically representative samples. Studies that reported greater effectiveness of GSH tended to be of lower methodological quality and generally involved participants who were self-selected rather than recruited through clinical referrals.
Although there is support for the effectiveness of CBT-based GSH among media-recruited individuals, the finding that the reviewed RCTs had limited effectiveness within routine clinical practice demonstrates that the evidence is not conclusive. Further rigorous evidence based on clinical populations that examines longer-term outcomes is required before CBT-based GSH interventions can be deemed effective for adults accessing primary care services for treatment of anxiety and depression.

Psychological Medicine 41(11) 2239-2252

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Available from: Paul Graham Morris, Jul 30, 2015
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    • "E.g. during a summer term or while on some internship.) This is a common limitation within most of the published literature on internet-based self-help, in the sense that the results are often based on media-recruited participants (Coull & Morris, 2011). Such recruitment and limitation may be very appropriate, since self-help programs necessarily require more independent initiative than traditional therapy. "
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