The effectiveness of internet chat groups in relapse prevention after inpatient psychotherapy

Psychother Res. 2011 Mar;21(2):219-26. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2010.547530.


The majority of patients benefit from psychotherapeutic treatment. However, many fail to maintain their treatment gains following discharge. In a controlled study, we investigated the effectiveness of internet chat groups in preventing relapse following inpatient treatment. One hundred and fifty-two patients were assessed with the Longitudinal Follow-up Evaluation (LIFE) 1 year after discharge from the hospital. Kaplan Meier survival analyses showed that significantly fewer chat participants (22.2%) than control participants (46.5%) experienced a relapse. Additional analyses yielded a significant difference in the relapse rates of chat and control participants depending on their utilization of outpatient treatment after discharge. The results confirm that technology-enhanced interventions are effective in maintaining treatment gains. Implications of the findings for health care provision are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Internet*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult