HealthDay News — Self-guided internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) is effective for treating adults with depressive symptoms, according to a review published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Eirini Karyotaki, from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a systematic review to estimate the effect of self-guided iCBT in treating adults with depressive symptoms versus controls. Individual participant data were included for 3876 participants from 13 of 16 eligible randomized clinical trials in which self-guided iCBT was compared with a control (usual care, waiting list, or attention control); multiple imputations were used to handle missing data.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, self-guided iCBT was more effective for depressive symptom severity (β = −0.21; Hedges g = 0.27) and treatment response (β = 0.53; odds ratio, 1.95; number needed to treat, 8). There were significant correlations for adherence to treatment with lower depressive symptoms (β = −0.19; P =.001) and greater response to treatment (β = 0.90; P <.001). Treatment outcomes were not moderated by the examined participant or study-level variables.

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“The use of meta-analyses of individual participant data provides substantial evidence for clinical and policy decision making because self-guided iCBT can be considered as an evidence-based first-step approach in treating symptoms of depression,” the authors wrote.

Disclosure: One author received funding from the pharmaceutical and publishing industries.


Karyotaki E, Riper H, Twisk J, et al. Efficacy of self-guided internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy in the treatment of depressive symptoms:a meta-analysis of individual participant data [published online February 22, 2017]JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0044