Anxiety and Depression Association of America Annual Meeting

Anxiety and Depression Association of America Annual Meeting

April 06, 2016
1 min read

Computerized CBT effective for primary care patients with depression, anxiety

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PHILADELPHIA — Primary care patients with depression and anxiety symptoms utilized and benefited from a computerized cognitive behavioral therapy program, according to data presented at the Anxiety and Depression Association of America annual conference.

“Numerous trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of collaborative care strategies at treating depressed and anxious primary care patients, yet providing expedient access to psychotherapy within this setting remains challenging,” Bea Herbeck Belnap, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “Internet-delivered computerized CBT programs could overcome this impediment, but studies have not evaluated the effectiveness of this treatment that can be conveniently provided 24/7 within the context of a collaborative care program.”

Researchers randomly assigned 603 primary care patients with symptoms of depression and anxiety to computerized CBT, which consisted of eight 50-minute sessions over 6 months. Study participants completed 5.3 sessions on average.

White participants were more likely to complete all computerized CBT sessions than nonwhite participants (33% vs. 23%; P = .02). However, completion rates were similar by gender, age, educational level, baseline working status and symptom severity.

Participants who completed all sessions reported mean decreases of 5.8 in Patient Health Questionnaire-9 scores and 5.7 in Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 scores, regardless of sociodemographic subgroup.

Sixty-five percent of participants who received computerized CBT reported at least a 50% decline symptoms from baseline.

“Depressed and anxious primary care patients will engage with and benefit from use of a [computerized CBT] program provided within the context of a collaborative care strategy,” the researchers wrote.

Updated data will be presented in fall 2016, according to researchers. – by Amanda Oldt


Herbeck Belnap B, et al. Depressed and anxious primary care patients’ use of an Internet-delivered computerized cognitive-therapy program delivered via a collaborative care program. Presented at: Anxiety and Depression Association of America Conference; March 31-April 3, 2016; Philadelphia.

Disclosure: was unable to confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.