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. 2017 Apr 4;6(4):e51.
doi: 10.2196/resprot.7203.

Managing Depressive Symptoms in the Workplace Using a Web-Based Self-Care Tool: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Free PMC article

Managing Depressive Symptoms in the Workplace Using a Web-Based Self-Care Tool: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Abigail Hirsch et al. JMIR Res Protoc. .
Free PMC article


Background: Depression in the workplace creates a significant burden on employees and employers in terms of lost productivity and related costs. myStrength provides a robust, holistic Web- and mobile-based solution empowering users to learn, practice, and implement a range of evidence-based psychological interventions.

Objective: The main aim of this study was to demonstrate improvement in depressive symptoms among employees at risk of depression through myStrength use.

Methods: A 26-week, parallel-arm, pilot, randomized controlled trial was designed to assess the effectiveness of myStrength compared to a series of informational "Depression Tip/Fact of the Week" emails as the active control arm. Study participants (n=146) were commercially insured employees of a mid-sized financial software solutions firm. The primary outcome was self-reported change in depression score as best fit by a linear random effects model accounting for individual baseline symptoms.

Results: The final sample consisted of 78 participants in the experimental arm, myStrength, and 68 participants in the active control arm. myStrength users demonstrated significantly steeper and more rapid reduction in depressive symptoms over time compared to the active control (P<.001), suggesting that the intervention generated improvement in behavioral health symptoms, even in a nonclinical sample.

Conclusions: This pilot study builds foundational support for the scalable deployment of myStrength as a complementary behavioral health offering to promote overall mental health and well-being in the workplace.

Keywords: behavioral health; depression; health promotion; randomized controlled trial; workplace.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: Hirsch is a contractor for and Blazejowskyj and Schladweiler are employees of myStrength, the program tested in this pilot study. Hirsch also has ownership interest in myStrength and serves as Chief Clinical Officer to the company. Luellen and Holder, of Centerstone Research Institute, have no financial interests associated with the myStrength product, but the Centerstone Research Institute received compensation for their time on the project from myStrength. Dubiel and Steinberg were employed by Aetna at the time this work was done.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Study flowchart.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Depression scores over time, stratified by group, with outliers included.
Figure 3
Figure 3
Depression scores over time, stratified by group, with outliers removed.
Figure 4
Figure 4
Number of participants who completed assessments during the study period, stratified by group.

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