Unguided low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic: A randomised trial

Sarah J. Egan, Peter McEvoy, Tracey D. Wade, Sarah Ure, Andrew R. Johnson, Christopher Gill, Danyelle Greene, Lienke Wilker, Rebecca Anderson, Trevor G. Mazzucchelli, Samantha Brown, Roz Shafran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on mental health worldwide, with increased rates of anxiety and depression widely documented. The aim of this study was to examine unguided low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety and depression during the pandemic. A sample of 225 individuals in Australia and the United Kingdom (M age 37.79, SD = 14.02, range 18–80 years; 85% female) were randomised into intervention or waitlist control. The intervention group demonstrated significant decreases in anxiety (d = 0.36 [0.18, 0.54]) and depression (d = 0.28 [0.11, 0.45]) compared to controls. The majority of participants (96%) rated the intervention as useful, and most (83%) reported they spent 30 min or less reading the guide, with 83% agreeing the intervention was easy to read. The results indicate that low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy has efficacy in reducing anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to disseminate low intensity psychological therapies to improve mental health in this challenging time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103902
Number of pages8
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume144
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy
  • COVID-19
  • Depression
  • Low intensity
  • Pandemic
  • Randomised trial

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