Cognitive-behavioural bibliotherapy for hypochondriasis: a pilot study

Behav Cogn Psychother. 2009 May;37(3):335-40. doi: 10.1017/S1352465809005293. Epub 2009 May 6.


Aims: The present study aims to determine whether cognitive-behavioural minimal contact bibliotherapy is acceptable to participants suffering from DSM-IV-TR hypochondriasis, and whether this intervention is able to reduce hypochondriacal complaints, as well as comorbid depressive complaints and trait anxiety.

Method: Participants were assigned to either an immediate treatment condition, or subsequently to a waiting list condition. Participants were sent a book, Doctor, I Hope it's Nothing Serious?, containing cognitive behavioural theory and exercises. Measures were taken pre, post and at follow-up (after 3 months). Those in the waiting list group received a second pre-assessment, and were then enrolled in the bibliotherapy.

Results: Results showed that participants were accepting of the cognitive-behavioural theory. Furthermore, results showed beneficial effects of the intervention: all effect measures decreased significantly over time, with the largest effect at post-assessment. However, a large amount of questionnaires were not returned.

Conclusion: It is concluded that bibliotherapy may be an efficient aid in reducing hypochondriacal and comorbid complaints, but due to data attrition and methodological flaws should first be studied further.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Bibliotherapy / methods*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypochondriasis / diagnosis
  • Hypochondriasis / psychology
  • Hypochondriasis / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Surveys and Questionnaires