The Effects of Using Psychotherapeutic e-Mental Health Interventions on Men’s Depression and Anxiety: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Melissa J. Opozda, Melissa Oxlad, Deborah Turnbull, Himanshu Gupta, Andrew D. Vincent, Samuel Ziesing, Murray Nankivell, Gary Wittert

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Abstract

While psychotherapeutic e-mental health interventions may circumvent barriers that many men face in accessing mental health care, the effects of men using these interventions have not been evaluated. We aimed to synthesise the characteristics of psychotherapeutic e-mental health interventions for depression or anxiety that have been trialled and evaluated in men, and synthesise and meta-analyse the effects of these interventions on men’s depression and anxiety, including examining influences of participant, intervention, and study characteristics on outcomes. Seven papers (N = 552 participant men) identified from systematic literature searches met inclusion criteria. A total 177 studies were excluded because although they met all other inclusion criteria, they did not present analysable data on participant men. The seven included interventions varied in content, length, and format; only one intervention was gender sensitive, having been designed specifically for men. All three randomised controlled trials detected no post-trial difference in men’s depression symptoms between intervention and control participants. All four treatment studies presenting pre-post data reported post-intervention improvements in depression or social anxiety symptoms; this was supported by our meta-analysis of two studies, which found a medium-sized, positive effect of depression treatment interventions on depression symptoms in pre-post data (g = 0.64, p < 0.005). Further meta-analyses could not be conducted due to data limitations. Psychotherapeutic e-mental health treatment interventions result in pre- to post-intervention improvements in men’s depression symptoms. There is urgent need for consideration of gender and sex in the development, evaluation, and dissemination of e-mental health interventions for men, and for further information on their effects.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Early online date9 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • e-health
  • Men
  • meta-analysis

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