PURPOSE: Computerized cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) is becoming an increasingly well-recognized therapeutic option for the treatment of depression. With acknowledged high prevalence of depression within chronic physical ill-health populations and a need to increase access to psychological therapies, cCBT represents a low-intensity intervention with the potential to have great utility within health care settings.
METHODS: This article systematically reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of cCBT for the treatment of depression with people who have a chronic physical health problem. A comprehensive search was conducted to identify relevant randomized, controlled trials. Identified studies were quality-assessed, and data were extracted by two reviewers.
RESULTS: One study investigating cCBT for the treatment of depression in people with diabetes fulfilled inclusion criteria. The trial reported positive outcomes compared to a waiting-list control condition.
CONCLUSIONS: The available literature suggests cCBT programmes may be beneficial for populations with a chronic physical illness experiencing depression. This conclusion is based on the findings of a single study, which involved the evaluation of a cCBT package by its developers, included a short follow-up and featured specialist health care support. Additionally, the study reported considerable attrition suggesting the intervention might not have been acceptable to many participants. It is likely that cCBT may be a way in which to increase access to psychological therapies. However, prior to any definitive conclusions being made, further high-quality research to establish the acceptability, feasibility, efficacy, and effectiveness of cCBT for specific chronic physical health conditions is required.
- Chronic Disease/psychology
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/methods
- Depressive Disorder/psychology
- Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
- Therapy, Computer-Assisted/methods
- Treatment Outcome