An internet-based self-help intervention for people with psychological distress due to COVID-19: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Brog, Noemi Anja; Hegy, Julia Katharina; Berger, Thomas; Znoj, Hansjörg (2021). An internet-based self-help intervention for people with psychological distress due to COVID-19: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 22(171), pp. 1-11. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13063-021-05089-9

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Background: The coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) has reached pandemic status and is affecting countries all over the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by various stressors that require adjustment in everyday life and possibly changes in personal future prospects. While some individuals cope well with these challenges, some develop psychological distress including depressive symptoms, anxiety, or stress. Internet-based self-help interventions have proven to be effective in the treatment of various mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Based on that, we developed an internet-based self-help program for individuals with psychological distress due to the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The 3-week self-help program consists of 6 modules comprising texts, videos, figures, and exercises. Participants can request guidance within the self-help program (guidance on demand). The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of the self-help program compared to a waiting control condition.

Methods: The design is a parallel group randomized controlled trial. Participants are allocated to a 3-week self-help intervention plus care as usual or a 3-week waiting period with only care as usual. There are follow-ups after 6 weeks and 18 weeks. At least 80 participants with COVID-19 pandemic related psychological distress will be recruited. Primary outcome are depressive symptoms. Secondary outcomes include anxiety and chronic stress, suicidal experiences and behavior, health-related quality of life, generalized optimism and pessimism, embitterment, optimistic self-beliefs, emotion regulation skills, loneliness, resilience, and the satisfaction with and usability of the self-help program.

Discussion: To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies investigating the efficacy of an internet-based self-help program for psychological distress due to the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the results of this study may give further insight into the use of internet-based self-help programs in pandemic-related psychological distress.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04380909. Retrospectively registered on 8 May 2020.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Brog, Noemi Anja; Hegy, Julia Katharina; Berger, Thomas and Znoj, Hans Jörg

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

1745-6215

Publisher:

BioMed Central

Language:

English

Submitter:

Sina Röthlisberger

Date Deposited:

09 Apr 2021 16:10

Last Modified:

09 Apr 2021 16:10

Publisher DOI:

10.1186/s13063-021-05089-9

PubMed ID:

33648555

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.153355

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/153355

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