• Use of a Fully Automated Internet-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy Intervention in a Community Population of Adults With Depression Symptoms: Randomized Controlled Trial

      Schure, Mark B; Lindow, Janet C; Greist, John H; Nakonezny, Paul A; Bailey, Sandra J; Bryan, William L; Byerly, Matthew J; Univ Arizona, Coll Med, Dept Psychiat (JMIR PUBLICATIONS, INC, 2019-11-16)
      Background: Although internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (iCBT) interventions can reduce depression symptoms, large differences in their effectiveness exist. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an iCBT intervention called Thrive, which was designed to enhance engagement when delivered as a fully automated, stand-alone intervention to a rural community population of adults with depression symptoms. Methods: Using no diagnostic or treatment exclusions, 343 adults with depression symptoms were recruited from communities using an open-access website and randomized 1:1 to the Thrive intervention group or the control group. Using self-reports, participants were evaluated at baseline and 4 and 8 weeks for the primary outcome of depression symptom severity and secondary outcome measures of anxiety symptoms, work and social adjustment, psychological resilience, and suicidal ideation. Results: Over the 8-week follow-up period, the intervention group (n=181) had significantly lower depression symptom severity than the control group (n=162; P<.001), with a moderate treatment effect size (d=0.63). Moderate to near-moderate effect sizes favoring the intervention group were observed for anxiety symptoms (P<.001; d=0.47), work/social functioning (P<.001; d=0.39), and resilience (P<.001; d=0.55). Although not significant, the intervention group was 45% less likely than the control group to experience increased suicidal ideation (odds ratio 0.55). Conclusions: These findings suggest that the Thrive intervention was effective in reducing depression and anxiety symptom severity and improving functioning and resilience among a mostly rural community population of US adults. The effect sizes associated with Thrive were generally larger than those of other iCBT interventions delivered as a fully automated, stand-alone intervention.