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A scoping review on the risks and benefits of online therapy for adults with major depression

Grasedieck, J. (2022) A scoping review on the risks and benefits of online therapy for adults with major depression.

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Abstract:Introduction: Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders leading to functional impairments in daily life. During COVID-19, depression rates increased even further up to 90% compared to prior times. The possibilities to receive treatment are meagre, with only one third of patients receiving sufficient mental health care. Recent online therapeutical approaches, such as online delivered cognitive behavioural therapy or problem-solving therapy, have received increased attention in treating patients with major depression. By exploring different databases, this scoping review aimed at disclosing benefits, risks and efficacy of online treatments for major depression. Methods: Literature was collected scoping four databases: PsychInfo, Scopus, Web of Science, and Pubmed. In total, 16 studies were selected for the inclusion of this review after a systematic literature search. Those studies were analyzed to explore various study characteristics, the form of diagnostics used in online treatment to determine major depression, the effects of three different online-approaches (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Problem-solving Therapy (PST)) on major depression, and the risks and benefits of online therapy. Results: Studies were conducted in eleven different countries and greatly varied in their sample size. The majority of study participants were female in all studies. Fourteen studies made use of online CBT, one used IPT and one PST. By using online CBT, a substantial reduction of depression rates was to be noted. Those effects were realized faster by PST than by CBT. IPT generated similar outcomes as online CBT with lower participant satisfaction. High drop-out rates were presented for the majority of included studies, whereas only a few studies showed better adherence to the intervention compared to standard face-to-face therapy. Discussion: In line with prior reviews, studies mostly identify internet therapy as an effective treatment for this mental health disorder. However, nonadherence is a major problem in online therapy and should be investigated by future studies. Since depression rates are still rising, further research advancements are needed to investigate the issue of high drop-out rates. Keywords: Online therapy, major depression, adults, treatment
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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