Delivering interventions for depression by using the internet: Randomised controlled trial

Helen Christensen*, Kathleen M. Griffiths, Anthony F. Jorm

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    697 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of two internet interventions for community-dwelling individuals with symptoms of depression - a psychoeducation website offering information about depression and an interactive website offering cognitive behaviour therapy. Design: Randomised controlled trial. Setting: Internet users in the community, in Canberra, Australia. Participants: 525 individuals with increased depressive symptoms recruited by survey and randomly allocated to a website offering information about depression (n = 166) or a cognitive behaviour therapy website (n = 182), or a control intervention using an attention placebo (n = 178). Main outcome measures: Change in depression, dysfunctional thoughts; knowledge of medical, psychological, and lifestyle treatments; and knowledge of cognitive behaviour therapy. Results: Intention to treat analyses indicated that information about depression and interventions that used cognitive behaviour therapy and were delivered via the internet were more effective than a credible control intervention in reducing symptoms of depression in a community sample. For the intervention that delivered cognitive behaviour therapy the reduction in score on the depression scale of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies was 3.2 (95% confidence interval 0.9 to 5.4). For the "depression literacy" site (BluePages), the reduction was 3.0 (95% confidence interval 0.6 to 5.2). Cognitive behaviour therapy (MoodGYM) reduced dysfunctional thinking and increased knowledge of cognitive behaviour therapy. Depression literacy (BluePages) significantly improved participants' understanding of effective evidence based treatments for depression (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Both cognitive behaviour therapy and psychoeducation delivered via the internet are effective in reducing symptoms of depression.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)265-268
    Number of pages4
    JournalThe BMJ
    Volume328
    Issue number7434
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2004

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