Evaluation of the effectiveness of Face IT, a computer-based psychosocial intervention for disfigurement-related distress

Psychol Health Med. 2012;17(5):565-77. doi: 10.1080/13548506.2011.647701. Epub 2012 Feb 7.


Some people who have a visible difference (disfigurement) experience psychosocial adjustment problems that can lead to social anxiety and isolation. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of a new computerised CBT-based intervention (Face IT) in reducing anxiety and appearance-related distress for individuals with visible differences. Face IT was tested against a non-intervention control group and standard CBT-based face-to-face delivery. Eighty-three participants were assessed at four time points using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scales, Derriford Appearance Scale-24, Body Image Quality of Life Inventory and Fear of Negative Evaluation (FNE). The findings indicate a significant reduction in anxiety and appearance-related distress in both the Face IT intervention and the face-to-face condition. Similar findings were reported for depressive symptoms and FNE. Results at the three and six months follow-up demonstrate increased improvements in psychological functioning with both interventions. This new online psychosocial intervention has been found to be effective at reducing anxiety, depression and appearance concerns amongst individuals with disfigurements, whilst increasing positive adjustment. A remote-access, computer-based intervention offers the potential to provide psychosocial support more easily and in a cost-effective manner to adults with appearance-related distress.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Body Image / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / psychology*
  • Esthetics
  • Face*
  • Facial Injuries / pathology
  • Facial Injuries / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted*
  • Young Adult