Background: The supply of online therapy options for mild to moderate depressive disorders has substantially risen both nationally and internationally in the past years. While the efficacy and efficiency of specific online-based therapeutic services were indicated within the framework of scientific evaluations, little is known about the acceptance of these new therapy options.
Methods: In a nationwide online survey of online-based therapy options for mild to moderate depressive disorders, the attitude and stance as well as the use intention and the subjectively perceived knowledge of 657 medical practitioners and therapists, active in psychotherapeutic and psychiatric treatment were collated. The impact of the potential predictors on the use intention of online-based therapies, based on the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, was analyzed by means of a binary logistic regression model.
Results: Besides the perceived performance and expense expectations, the supportive framework conditions, the influence of the cooperative environment, the individual technical affinity as well as the evaluation of the prospective significance of online-based therapy proved to be significantly influential predictors on the user intention. Special predictability for a positive user intention was shown related to the perceived potential of online therapy.
Conclusion: The results underline the relevance of further evidence-basing of online therapy for mild to moderate depressive disorders. A user-oriented, participatory technology development proves to be just as relevant as a comprehensive sensitization, elucidation and education of potential users for a successful implementation.
Keywords: Acceptance; Behavioral intention to use; Depressive disorder; Online therapy; User perspectives.