Objective To explore the moderating effects of sociodemographic variables on treatment benefits received from participating in an internet intervention for depression. Design Randomised, assessor-blind, controlled trial. Setting Online intervention, with participant recruitment using multiple settings, including inpatient and outpatient medical and psychological clinics, depression online forums, health insurance companies and the media (eg, newspaper, radio). Participants The EVIDENT trial included 1013 participants with mild to moderate depressive symptoms. Interventions The intervention group subjects (n=509) received an online intervention (Deprexis) in addition to care as usual (CAU), while 504 participants received CAU alone. Methods To explore subgroup differences, moderating effects were investigated using linear regression models based on intention-to-treat analyses. Moderating effects included sex, age, educational attainment, employment status, relationship status and lifetime frequency of episodes. Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary endpoint was change in self-rated depression severity measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), comparing baseline versus 12-week post-test assessment. Secondary outcome measures were the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms each at 12 weeks and at 6 and 12 months, and PHQ-9 at 6 and 12 months, respectively. In this article, we focus on the primary outcome measure only. Results Between-group differences were observed in post-test scores, indicating the effectiveness of Deprexis. While the effects of the intervention could be demonstrated across all subgroups, some showed larger between-group differences than others. However, after exploring the moderating effects based on linear regression models, none of the selected variables was found to be moderating treatment outcomes. Conclusions Our findings suggest that Deprexis is equally beneficial to a wide range of people; that is, participant characteristics were not associated with treatment benefits. Therefore, participant recruitment into web-based psychotherapeutic interventions should be broad, while special attention may be paid to those currently under-represented in these interventions. Trial registration number NCT01636752.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)