Giuliano La Posta

Internet-delivered Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Chronic Health Conditions With and Without Guidance: Exploring Changes in Benefit Finding

Honours Thesis Results, Giuliano La Posta 2019

Background: Internet-delivered cognitive-behaviour therapy (ICBT) is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression when targeted to specific groups with chronic health conditions (e.g., pain, cancer, cardiac, spinal cord injury). Nevertheless, there are some gaps in the literature regarding:

  •  the efficacy of ICBT programs that are transdiagnostic and address multiple chronic health conditions;
  • whether outcomes are improved when offered with support of team of providers compared to when ICBT is self-directed; and
  • whether ICBT is associated with improvements in benefit finding.

Purpose: To examine the efficacy of self-directed versus team-directed transdiagnostic ICBT Chronic Health Conditions course in improving benefit finding, as well as anxiety and depression among individuals with diverse chronic health conditions.

Method: Participants were divided into self-directed (n=15) and team-directed (n=16) groups and were measured for changes in benefit finding scores, as well as in anxiety and depression symptoms, at both pre-treatment and post treatment.

Results: There were no between group differences or interactions. For both self-directed and team-directed groups, significant time effects were present for anxiety (Cohen’s d=0.83), depression (Cohen’s d=0.69), distress (Cohen’s d=0.65) and disability (Cohen’s d=0.18). Benefit finding did not change significantly over time, although a small effect was seen when examining Cohen’s d=.30.

Conclusion: The transdiagnostic ICBT Chronic Conditions course when either self-directed or team-directed shows promise in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, distress, and disability over time.