Guided self-help programs for depression (with associated therapist contact) have been successfully delivered over the Internet. However, previous trials of pure self-help Internet programs for depression (without therapist contact), including an earlier trial conducted by us, have failed to yield positive results. We hypothesized that methods to increase participant usage of the intervention, such as postcard or telephone reminders, might result in significant effects on depression.
This paper presents a second randomized trial of a pure self-help Internet site, ODIN (Overcoming Depression on the InterNet), for adults with self-reported depression. We hypothesized that frequently reminded participants receiving the Internet program would report greater reduction in depression symptoms and greater improvements in mental and physical health functioning than a comparison group with usual treatment and no access to ODIN.
This was a three-arm randomized control trial with a usual treatment control group and two ODIN intervention groups receiving reminders through postcards or brief telephone calls. The setting was a nonprofit health maintenance organization (HMO). We mailed recruitment brochures by US post to two groups: adults (n = 6030) who received depression medication or psychotherapy in the previous 30 days, and an age- and gender-matched group of adults (n = 6021) who did not receive such services. At enrollment and at 5-, 10- and 16-weeks follow-up, participants were reminded by email (and telephone, if nonresponsive) to complete online versions of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and the Short Form 12 (SF-12). We also recorded participant HMO health care services utilization in the 12 months following study enrollment.
Out of a recruitment pool of 12051 approached subjects, 255 persons accessed the Internet enrollment site, completed the online consent form, and were randomized to one of the three groups: (1) treatment as usual control group without access to the ODIN website (n = 100), (2) ODIN program group with postcard reminders (n = 75), and (3) ODIN program group with telephone reminders (n = 80). Across all groups, follow-up completion rates were 64% (n = 164) at 5 weeks, 68% (n = 173) at 10 weeks, and 66% (n = 169) at 16 weeks. In an intention-to-treat analysis, intervention participants reported greater reductions in depression compared to the control group (P = .03; effect size = 0.277 standard deviation units). A more pronounced effect was detected among participants who were more severely depressed at baseline (P = .02; effect size = 0.537 standard deviation units). By the end of the study, 20% more intervention participants moved from the disordered to normal range on the CES-D. We found no difference between the two intervention groups with different reminders in outcomes measures or in frequency of log-ons. We also found no significant intervention effects on the SF-12 or health care services.
In contrast to our earlier trial, in which participants were not reminded to use ODIN, in this trial we found a positive effect of the ODIN intervention compared to the control group. Future studies should address limitations of this trial, including relatively low enrollment and follow-up completion rates, and a restricted number of outcome measures. However, the low incremental costs of delivering this Internet program makes it feasible to offer this type of program to large populations with widespread Internet access.
"Furthermore, these treatment programs have been evaluated in randomized controlled trials (21, 28–36). Available e-mental health programs and applications range from self-help services (28) to treatment programs based on structured computer-administered therapy with or without computer-generated feedback, and web-based interventions with therapist support (29, 30). In addition, a few programs use video conferencing tools as a communication platform between patient and therapist (37). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mental disorders are common in almost all industrialized countries and many emerging economies. While several trials have shown that effective treatments exist for mental disorders, such as pharmacotherapy, psychological interventions, and self-help programs, the treatment gap in mental health care remains pervasive. Unrestricted access to adequate medical care for people with mental disorders will be one of the pressing public mental health tasks in the near future. In addition, scarcity of financial resources across the public mental health sector is a powerful argument for investigating innovative alternatives of delivering mental health care. Thus, one challenge that arises in modern mental health care is the development of innovative treatment concepts. One possibility for improving mental health care services is to deliver them via the Internet. Online-based mental health services have the potential to address the unmet need for mental health care.
Frontiers in Public Health 06/2014; 2:65. DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00065
"Research has yielded encouraging results concerning the effect of reminders (post card, e-mail, telephone or instant messaging prompts) on adherence. Overall, findings suggest that adding reminders encourages sustained usage of intervention web sites [38-42]. However, the results are not unambiguous [43,44]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (ICBT) is a promising approach to the prevention and reduction of depressive symptoms among adolescents. This study aimed to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of disseminating a self-directed internet-based mental health intervention (MoodGYM) in senior high schools. It also sought to investigate possible effects of tailored and weekly e-mail reminders on initial uptake and adherence to the intervention.
A baseline survey was conducted in four senior high schools in two Norwegian municipalities (n = 1337). 52.8% (707/1337) of the students consented to further participation in the trial and were randomly allocated to one of three MoodGYM intervention groups (tailored weekly e-mail reminder (n = 175), standardized weekly e-mail reminder (n = 176 ) or no e-mail reminder (n = 175)) or a waitlist control group (n = 180). We tested for effects of the intervention on depression and self-esteem using multivariate analysis of variance, effects of tailored e-mail and self-reported current need of help on initial uptake of the intervention using logistic regression and the effect of weekly e-mails on adherence using ordinal regression.
There was substantial non-participation from the intervention, with only 8.5% (45/527) participants logging on to MoodGYM, and few proceeding beyond the first part of the programme. No significant effect on depression or self-esteem was found among the sample as a whole or among participants with elevated depression scores at baseline. Having a higher average grade in senior high school predicted initial uptake of the intervention, but tailored e-mail and self-reported current need of help did not. Weekly e-mail prompts did not predict adherence. The main reasons for non-use reported were lack of time/forgetting about it and doubt about the usefulness of the program.
Overall, disseminating a self-directed internet-based intervention to a school population proved difficult despite steps taken to reduce barriers in terms of tailoring feedback and dispatching weekly e-mail reminders. Providing mental health interventions within the school environment is likely to ensure better uptake among senior high school students, but there is a need to effectively communicate that such programmes can be helpful.Trial registration: The trial was registered retrospectively as ACTRN12612001106820.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A diagnosis of diabetes mellitus types 1 or 2 doubles the odds of a comorbid depressive disorder. The combined diseases have a wide range of adverse outcomes, such as a lower quality of life, poorer diabetes outcomes and increased healthcare utilisation. Diabetes patients with depression can be treated effectively with psychotherapy, but access to psychological care is limited. In this study we will examine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a newly developed web-based intervention (GET.ON Mood Enhancer Diabetes) for people with diabetes and comorbid depressive symptoms.
A two-arm randomised controlled trial will be conducted. Adults with diabetes (type 1 or type 2) with increased depression scores (> 22 on the German version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D)) will be included. Eligible participants will be recruited through advertisement in diabetes patient journals and via a large-scale German health insurance company. The participants will be randomly assigned to either a 6-week minimally guided web-based self-help program or an online psychoeducation program on depression. The study will include 260 participants, which will enable us to detect a statistically significant difference with a group effect size of d = 0.35 at a power of 80% and a significance level of p = 0.05. The primary outcome measure will be the level of depression as assessed by the CES-D. The secondary outcome measures will be: diabetes-specific emotional distress, glycaemic control, self-management behaviour and the participants' satisfaction with the intervention. Online self-assessments will be collected at baseline and after a 2 months period, with additional follow-up measurements 6 and 12 months after randomisation. The data will be analysed on an intention-to-treat basis and per protocol. In addition, we will conduct an economic evaluation from a societal perspective.
If this intervention is shown to be cost-effective, it has considerable potential for implementing psychological care for large numbers of people with diabetes and comorbid depression in routine practice and improve health outcomes.Trial registrationGerman Clinical Trial Register (DRKS): DRKS00004748.
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