Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy programme with and without videoconference guidance sessions: A randomized controlled trial to treat work-related symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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2021

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Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
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This study provides the results from the implementation of a highly structured therapist-guided iCBT program for people with work-related anxiety and depression, in terms of program efficacy, participants’ adherence and satisfaction. Seventy-seven national police-workers were randomly allocated to one of two groups: without additional videoconference sessions (web platform with guidance of therapist), and with additional videoconference sessions (same intervention as the previous group, plus two videoconference guidance sessions with a psychologist). The intervention was comprised of 12 sessions and took place for 17-20 weeks. We found an adherence rate of 36.4%, with no differences between groups. All participants endorsed lower depression [BDI-II F(1) = 36.98, ρ < .001; ATQ F(1) = 24.22, ρ < .001], and anxiety [STAI-State F(1) = 76.62, ρ < .001] after the program. As a variable related to anxiety and depression in workplace, participants also showed higher assertiveness levels [RAS F(1) = 8.96, ρ < .001]. A significant reduction of the mean level of anxiety perceived by participants as the intervention program progressed was observed in both groups (F(2)=7.44; p=.003). Participants were satisfied with the therapists’ intervention and with the program. No significant group effects were found for any of the measures. Reduction in depression levels was maintained in the 12 months follow-up, but levels of anxiety increased. This study is innovative, as it is the first controlled trial to analyze the effect of two added videoconference sessions, and it includes short and long term measures, which is not usual. The results are discussed to clarify the role of the contact with the therapist to improve treatment adherence.

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