The effectiveness of an online e-health application compared to attention placebo or Sertraline in the treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Christensen, Helen, Mackinnon, Andrew J., Batterham, Philip J., O'Dea, Bridianne, Guastella, Adam J., Griffiths, Kathleen M., Eagleson, Claire, Hehir, Kanupriya Kalia, Kenardy, Justin, Bennett, Kylie and Hickie, Ian (2014) The effectiveness of an online e-health application compared to attention placebo or Sertraline in the treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder. Internet Interventions, 1 4: 169-174. doi:10.1016/j.invent.2014.08.002


Author Christensen, Helen
Mackinnon, Andrew J.
Batterham, Philip J.
O'Dea, Bridianne
Guastella, Adam J.
Griffiths, Kathleen M.
Eagleson, Claire
Hehir, Kanupriya Kalia
Kenardy, Justin
Bennett, Kylie
Hickie, Ian
Title The effectiveness of an online e-health application compared to attention placebo or Sertraline in the treatment of Generalised Anxiety Disorder
Journal name Internet Interventions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2214-7829
Publication date 2014-10
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.invent.2014.08.002
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 1
Issue 4
Start page 169
End page 174
Total pages 6
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a high prevalence, chronic disorder that can be treated effectively through a number of web-based programs. However, online web programs for GAD have not been compared to standard pharmacological treatment. The present study compares an Internet Intervention (Active Website) for GAD and a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) (Sertraline), with an online attention placebo condition (Control Website).

Objective

To evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based intervention for GAD in comparison to standard antidepressant medication and an online attention placebo condition over a 10 week period, and with a follow-up at 6 and at 12 months.

Methods

The study was part of a larger scale prevention program. 152 people aged 18–30 years who met the criteria for GAD on the MINI received referrals to the treatment sub-study. The primary outcome was anxiety symptoms measured by the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item Scale (GAD-7), and the secondary outcome was depression measured by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D).

Results

There was very poor uptake to the trial (around 14% of those referred). However, even in this small sample, Sertraline compared to the Control Website was significant at post-test and 6 months, and the Internet Intervention was significant at post-test. Relative to the Control Website condition at post-test, for the GAD-7 and CES-D respectively, the between group effect sizes were d = 2.43 and d = 0.68 for the Active Website condition, and 3.00 and 0.20 for the Sertraline condition. The within group effect size for the Control Website from baseline to post-test was − 0.04 for the GAD-7 and 0.31 for CES-D respectively.

Conclusions

The findings will need to be extended and confirmed in a larger trial. However, they do suggest that both standard pharmacological treatment and online interventions for GAD are effective in samples with a diagnosis of GAD recruited via online methods. The low rate of engagement for face-to-face treatment by those who opt first for a web program suggests that treatment preferences are important in help-seeking.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 3 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 12 Mar 2015, 12:31:04 EST by Professor Justin Kenardy on behalf of School of Psychology