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June 18, 2009

BehindTheMedspeak: 'The Sadness Program' — online treatment for depression

Psychiatry professor Gavin Andrews (above) of the University of New South Wales in Sydney believes that Internet-based therapy's principal strength is that people can seek treatment anywhere and anytime they have Internet access.

Hear him out.

Andrews' group published its results in a paper just out in the June 2009 issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; the abstract follows.


Clinician-assisted Internet-based treatment is effective for depression: Randomized controlled trial

Objective: The aim of the present study was to determine the efficacy of an Internet-based clinician-assisted computerized cognitive behavioural treatment (CaCCBT) programme for depression.

Method: Forty-five individuals meeting diagnostic criteria for depression were randomly assigned to the Sadness programme or to a waitlist control group. In the clinician-assisted Sadness programme, participants complete six online lessons, weekly homework assignments, receive weekly email contact from a clinical psychologist, and contribute to a moderated online discussion forum with other participants. An intention-to-treat model was used for data analyses.

Results: A total of 20 (74%) treatment group participants completed all lessons within the 8 week programme, and post-treatment data were collected from 18/27 treatment group and 17/18 waitlist group participants. Treatment group participants reported significantly reduced symptoms of depression as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-second edition and the Patient Health Questionnaire-Nine Item. Treatment group participants each received an average of eight email contacts (111 min of therapist time]. Mean within- and between-group effect sizes (Cohen's d) across the two measures of depressive symptoms were 0.98 and 0.75, respectively. Participants found the treatment programme acceptable and satisfactory.

Conclusions: These results replicate those from the pilot trial reported by Perini et al. and are consistent with literature indicating that Internet-based programmes for depression and other mental disorders combined with clinical guidance can result in clinically significant improvements. These data provide further support for the development of Internet-based treatment for common mental disorders.


Learn more about the program here.

Details on how to sign up here.

June 18, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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