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Translating the Intention to Seek Treatment into Action: Does Symptom Monitoring Make a Difference? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2018

R. Shafran
Affiliation:
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK
A. Gyani
Affiliation:
School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AL, UK
J. Rostron
Affiliation:
School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AY, UK
S. Allen
Affiliation:
Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AA, UK
P. Myles-Hooton
Affiliation:
School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire RG6 6AL, UK
H. Allcott-Watson
Affiliation:
UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, UK
S. Rose
Affiliation:
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Floors Fitzwilliam House, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 1BQ, UK
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background: Most people with common mental health problems do not seek evidence-based psychological interventions. Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate whether monitoring symptoms of depression and anxiety using an app increased treatment-seeking. Method: Three hundred and six people with significant levels of anxiety and depression, none of whom were currently receiving treatment, were randomly allocated to receive either (a) information about local psychological services only, (b) information plus regular symptom monitoring (every 6 days), or (c) information plus open symptom monitoring (monitoring when they felt like it). An app was used to provide information and monitor mood. Results: The proportion of participants who reported receiving treatment after starting the study was 7.2% (10/138) in the information only group, 8.1% (9/111) in the information plus regular monitoring group and 15.8% (9/57) in the information plus open monitoring group. There was a trend for participants who were able to monitor whenever they wished to be more likely to report receiving treatment than people who were only given information about their local treatment services. The impact of the intervention was greatest among participants who intended to seek treatment before taking part. Limitations were that only a small minority of those who downloaded the app completed the study and that the study relied on self-reported measures of treatment-seeking. Conclusions: Symptom monitoring can increase actual treatment-seeking in those with an intention to seek treatment.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2018 

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Footnotes

*

Alex Gyani is now Principal Advisor (APAC Head of Research) at the Behavioural Insights Team (Australia).

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