[Web-based rehabilitation aftercare following inpatient psychosomatic treatment]

Rehabilitation (Stuttg). 2013 Jun;52(3):164-72. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1345191. Epub 2013 Jun 12.
[Article in German]


Background: High relapse rates following treatment for mental health disorders are a challenge for psychosomatic rehabilitation treatments. The goal of the present study is to evaluate the feasibility, acceptance and process-quality of a 12-week transdiagnostic Internet-based maintenance treatment (W-RENA) following psychosomatic rehabilitation treatment. Findings regarding effectiveness and moderators of treatment outcome that were already reported elsewhere are briefly summarized.In a preliminary study we first assessed whether rehab patients have the technical requirements and abilities to successfully participate in Internet-based treatments. Patients expressing interest for participation in W-RENA (N=400) were compared with non-participants (N=1789) with regard to sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.

Method: In a 2-arm randomized controlled trial (N=400) we subsequently compared participants of W-RENA with participants of a treatment as usual group (TAU). Self-report measures were assessed at the beginning of inpatient treatment (t1), at discharge from inpatient treatment/start of W-RENA (t2), and at 3- (t3) and 12-months follow-ups (t4).

Results: The majority of assessed rehab-patients had the technical prerequisites (78.79%) and necessary skills (79.9%) to successfully participate in an Internet-based intervention. A third of the patients (32%) which were invited to take part in the intervention (and the study) expressed interest to participate. Study participants and non-participants differed only slightly. Most participants (80.6%) reported to have gained benefit from participating. Treatment achievements as well as quality of therapist alliance were rated high from both patients and therapists. Moreover, participants of the W-RENA group could stabilize their inpatient treatment outcomes up to 3- and 12-months follow-up better than controls could do (differences in symptom change from discharge to 3-months follow-up: d=0.38; to 12-months follow-up: d=0.55). Clinical significant symptom deterioration from discharge to 1-year follow-up could be reduced by 2/3 (29.45% vs. 11.45%). We could not identify any subgroup not profiting from study participation. Patients with low education benefited particularly.

Conclusion: Internet-based aftercare interventions are a feasible, accepted and effective approach to successfully sustain treatment outcomes achieved in inpatient psychosomatic rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aftercare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Promotion / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotherapy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Telemedicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Therapy, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Outcome
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Young Adult