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A Web-Based Program Reduces Depressive Symptoms

17 Nov

Researchers from the University of Twente in The Netherlands compared the effectiveness of a guided web-based intervention for depression, based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), with an active control condition (expressive writing) and a waiting-list control condition,

Adults with depressive symptoms from the general population were randomized to the three conditions: ACT (n = 82), expressive writing (n = 67) or waiting-list control (n = 87). The main outcome assessed was reduction in depressive symptoms, as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.

The investigators found significant reductions in depressive symptoms following the ACT intervention, as compared with the control group (Cohen's d = 0.56) and the expressive writing intervention (d = 0.36). The effect sizes were sustained at 6-month and 12-month follow-up.

The researchers conclude that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, delivered as a web-based public mental health intervention for adults with depressive symptoms, can be effective.

Citation: Pots WT, Fledderus M, et al. Acceptance and commitment therapy as a web-based intervention for depressive symptoms: randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2016 Jan;208 (1): pp. 69-77.  doi:10.1192/bjp 114.146068. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award