Web-based interventions for comorbid depression and chronic illness: a systematic review
1University of Adelaide School of Psychology, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
2University of Adelaide, Discipline of Medicine, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
3Medical Center – University of Freiburg, Institute for Quality Management and Social Medicine, Germany
- Diana Dorstyn, University of Adelaide, School of Psychology, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005 Australia. Email:
Web-based interventions offer potential benefits for managing and treating depression in the context of chronic physical illness,
however their use with this population has yet to be quantitatively assessed. The present systematic review examined the biopsychosocial
data from 11 independent studies (N = 1348 participants), including randomised controlled and quasi-experimental designs most commonly performed with diabetes
and multiple sclerosis. Study quality was evaluated using the Downs and Black (1998) index, with most studies being statistically
underpowered although internal validity was demonstrated. Treatment outcomes were quantified using Cohen’s d effect sizes. Results indicated significant short-term improvements in depression severity (d
w = 0.36, CI = 0.20-0.52, p < 0.01), in addition to quality of life, problem-solving skills, functional ability, anxiety and pain-related cognitions
(d range = 0.23 to 1.10). Longer-term outcomes could not be determined based on the limited data. Further robust studies are
required before wider adoption of web techniques takes place.
- Received June 7, 2014.
- Accepted January 13, 2015.
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