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Computerised cognitive–behavioural therapy (cCBT) for depression has the potential to be efficient therapy but engagement is poor in primary care trials.
We tested the benefits of adding telephone support to cCBT.
We compared telephone-facilitated cCBT (MoodGYM) (n = 187) to minimally supported cCBT (MoodGYM) (n = 182) in a pragmatic randomised trial (trial registration: ISRCTN55310481). Outcomes were depression severity (Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9), anxiety (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire (GAD)-7) and somatoform complaints (PHQ-15) at 4 and 12 months.
Use of cCBT increased by a factor of between 1.5 and 2 with telephone facilitation. At 4 months PHQ-9 scores were 1.9 points lower (95% CI 0.5–3.3) for telephone-supported cCBT. At 12 months, the results were no longer statistically significant (0.9 PHQ-9 points, 95% CI −0.5 to 2.3). There was improvement in anxiety scores and for somatic complaints.
Telephone facilitation of cCBT improves engagement and expedites depression improvement. The effect was small to moderate and comparable with other low-intensity psychological interventions.
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