A Systematic Review of Predictors of, and Reasons for, Adherence to Online Psychological Interventions

Lisa Beatty, Claire Binnion

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    114 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: A key issue regarding the provision of psychological therapy in a self-guided online format is low rates of adherence. The aim of this systematic review was to assess both quantitative and qualitative data on the predictors of adherence, as well as participant reported reasons for adhering or not adhering to online psychological interventions. Methods: Database searches of PsycINFO, Medline, and CINAHL identified 1721 potentially relevant articles published between 1 January 2000 and 25 November 2015. A further 34 potentially relevant articles were retrieved from reference lists. Articles that reported predictors of, or reasons for, adherence to an online psychological intervention were included. Results: A total of 36 studies met the inclusion criteria. Predictors assessed included demographic, psychological, characteristics of presenting problem, and intervention/computer-related predictors. Evidence suggested that female gender, higher treatment expectancy, sufficient time, and personalized intervention content each predicted higher adherence. Age, baseline symptom severity, and control group allocation had mixed findings. The majority of assessed variables however, did not predict adherence. Conclusions: Few clear predictors of adherence emerged overall, and most results were either mixed or too preliminary to draw conclusions. More research of predictors associated with adherence to online interventions is warranted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)776-794
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
    Issue number6
    Early online date2016
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


    • Intervention
    • Online
    • Psychological
    • Self-help
    • Treatment adherence


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