Randomized trial of Internet-based relapse prevention for partially remitted depression

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2011 Oct;124(4):285-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01698.x. Epub 2011 Mar 14.


Objective: To investigate whether Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) can prevent relapse in persons with partially remitted major depression after previous treatment.

Method: Seventy-one women and 13 men (N = 84) with partially remitted major depression after treatment were randomly assigned to either 10 weeks of Internet-based CBT or to a control group. Self-help material was used in combination with e-mail contact with a personal therapist. Monthly self-ratings of depressive symptoms were made, and diagnostic interviews were conducted before and after the treatment period, as well as 6 months later.

Results: Significantly fewer participants in the CBT group experienced relapse (4/38 or 10.5%) compared with those in the control group (14/37 or 37.8%). The difference in relapse rates between groups occurred early in the study period and was still apparent after 6 months. A trend towards a larger reduction in depressive symptoms was observed at post-treatment in the participants who received CBT compared with controls. Reduction in depressive symptoms reduced the risk of relapse. A trend towards a higher remission rate was found in the CBT group at the 6 month follow-up.

Conclusion: Internet-based CBT seems promising in preventing relapse in persons with partially remitted major depression after previous treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / prevention & control
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Treatment Outcome