Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy blended with face-to-face sessions for major depression: Randomized controlled trial

Shigetsugu Nakao, Atsuo Nakagawa, Yoshiyo Oguchi, Dai Mitsuda, Noriko Kato, Yuko Nakagawa, Noriko Tamura, Yuka Kudo, Takayuki Abe, Mitsunori Hiyama, Satoru Iwashita, Yutaka Ono, Masaru Mimura

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Abstract

Background: Meta-analyses of several randomized controlled trials have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has comparable efficacy to antidepressant medication, but therapist availability and cost-effectiveness is a problem. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of Web-based CBT blended with face-to-face sessions that reduce therapist time in patients with major depression who were unresponsive to antidepressant medications. Methods: A 12-week, assessor-masked, parallel-group, waiting- list controlled, randomized trial was conducted at 3 medical institutions in Tokyo. Outpatients aged 20-65 years with a primary diagnosis of major depression who were taking ≥1 antidepressant medications at an adequate dose for ≥6 weeks and had a 17-item GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) score of ≥14 were randomly assigned (1:1) to blended CBT or waiting-list groups using a computer allocation system, stratified by the study site with the minimization method, to balance age and baseline GRID-HAMD score. The CBT intervention was given in a combined format, comprising a Web-based program and 12 45-minute face-to-face sessions. Thus, across 12 weeks, a participant could receive up to 540 minutes of contact with a therapist, which is approximately two-thirds of the therapist contact time provided in the conventional CBT protocol, which typically provides 16 50-minute sessions. The primary outcome was the alleviation of depressive symptoms, as measured by a change in the total GRID-HAMD score from baseline (at randomization) to posttreatment (at 12 weeks). Moreover, in an exploratory analysis, we investigated whether the expected positive effects of the intervention were sustained during follow-up, 3 months after the posttreatment assessment. Analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis, and the primary outcome was analyzed using a mixed-effects model for repeated measures. Results: We randomized 40 participants to either blended CBT (n=20) or waiting-list (n=20) groups. All patients completed the 12-week treatment protocol and were included in the intention-to-treat analyses. Participants in the blended CBT group had significantly alleviated depressive symptoms at week 12, as shown by greater least squares mean changes in the GRID-HAMD score, than those in the waiting list group (−8.9 points vs −3.0 points; mean between-group difference=−5.95; 95% CI −9.53 to −2.37; P<.001). The follow-up effects within the blended CBT group, as measured by the GRID-HAMD score, were sustained at the 3-month follow-up (week 24) and posttreatment (week 12): posttreatment, 9.4 (SD 5.2), versus follow-up, 7.2 (SD 5.7); P=.009. Conclusions: Although our findings warrant confirmation in larger and longer term studies with active controls, these suggest that a combined form of CBT is effective in reducing depressive symptoms in patients with major depression who are unresponsive to antidepressant medications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10743
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Volume20
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep

Keywords

  • Blended cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Major depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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  • Cite this

    Nakao, S., Nakagawa, A., Oguchi, Y., Mitsuda, D., Kato, N., Nakagawa, Y., Tamura, N., Kudo, Y., Abe, T., Hiyama, M., Iwashita, S., Ono, Y., & Mimura, M. (2018). Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy blended with face-to-face sessions for major depression: Randomized controlled trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 20(9), [e10743]. https://doi.org/10.2196/10743