Background: A growing number of meta-analyses have supported the application of therapist-supported Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (iCBT) for psychological disorders across different populations, but relatively few meta-analyses have concentrated on postpartum women.
Objective: This meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy of therapist-supported iCBT in improving stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms among postpartum women.
Methods: A total of 10 electronic databases were used to search for published and unpublished trials. Cochrane Collaboration tool for assessing risk of bias was utilized to measure methodological quality. Meta-analysis was performed using the RevMan software (Review Manager version 5.3 for Windows from the Nordic Cochrane Centre, the Cochrane Collaboration, 2014). Among the 789 studies identified, 8 randomized controlled trials were selected, involving 1523 participants across 6 countries.
Results: More than half (65%) of the eligible studies had a low risk of bias with no heterogeneity. Results revealed that therapist-supported iCBT significantly improved stress (d=0.84, n=5), anxiety (d=0.36, n=6), and depressive symptoms (d=0.63, n=8) of the intervention group compared with those of the control group at post-intervention.
Conclusions: This review revealed that therapist-supported iCBT significantly improves stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms among postpartum women with small to large effects. Future effectiveness studies should establish the essential components, format, and approach of iCBT with optimal levels of human support to maximize a long-term effect.
Keywords: Internet; anxiety; cognitive behavior therapy; depression; meta-analysis; post-traumatic stress disorders; stress.
©Ying Lau, Tha Pyai Htun, Suei Nee Wong, Wai San Wilson Tam, Piyanee Klainin-Yobas. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 28.04.2017.