Project: Comparing the effectiveness of computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with other self-help treatment options
Target group: 100 adults aged 18 years + who presented with mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression, and not receiving any other form of psychological treatment or counselling
Settings: Participants were referred from their general practice in the London borough of Bexley. The service was publicised to local GPs by email, service development meetings, posters and leaflets.
Intervention: Participants were allocated to one of three self-help CBT options; 1. The Beating the Blues online CBT programme, 2. Workbooks on Overcoming Depression and Anxiety, 3. The Living Life to the Full online CBT programme
Support offered: All tools were provided alongside the support of a single research coordinator who received initial training in the use of all three self-help CBT resources. The support differed slightly in each group:
Beating the Blues – after the first support session the participants used the materials independently, but could contact the research coordinator if they needed to, then the support worker reviewed progress at eight weeks.
Living Life to the Full – after the first support session participants had two telephone support sessions at session 4 and 6 and also a review at session at session eight.
Overcoming Depression and Low Mood and Overcoming Anxiety workbooks – two face to face support sessions were provided initially, then participants received a telephone appointment at week four and a final appointment to review progress at week eight.
Outcomes: Only 50 out of the 100 completed the interventions – there was no different in drop-rate in all three groups. The Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation (CORE) outcome measure shows a significant reduction in depression and anxiety in all three groups and that this was sustained at 6 month follow up. There was no significant different in improvement between the three groups.
What else? The study demonstrated that the three self-help CBT interventions produced a clinical benefit for adults with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.