Vernmark K, Lenndin J, Bjärehed J, Carlsson M, Karlsson J, Oberg J, Carlbring P, Eriksson T, Andersson G
Behav Res Ther 2010 May;48(5):368-76
Internet-delivered psychological treatment of major depression has been investigated in several trials, but the role of personalized treatment is less investigated. Studies suggest that guidance is important and that automated computerized programmes without therapist support are less effective. Individualized e-mail therapy for depression has not been studied in a controlled trial. Eighty-eight individuals with major depression were randomized to two different forms of Internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), or to a waiting-list control group. One form of Internet treatment consisted of guided self-help, with weekly modules and homework assignments. Standard CBT components were presented and brief support was provided during the treatment. The other group received e-mail therapy, which was tailored and did not use the self-help texts i.e., all e-mails were written for the unique patient. Both treatments lasted for 8 weeks. In the guided self-help 93% completed (27/29) and in the e-mail therapy 96% (29/30) completed the posttreatment assessment. Results showed significant symptom reductions in both treatment groups with moderate to large effect sizes. At posttreatment 34.5% of the guided self-help group and 30% of the e-mail therapy group reached the criteria of high-end-state functioning (Beck Depression Inventory score below 9). At six-month follow-up the corresponding figures were 47.4% and 43.3%. Overall, the difference between guided self-help and e-mail therapy was small, but in favour of the latter. These findings indicate that both guided self-help and individualized e-mail therapy can be effective.