A randomized controlled feasibility trial of internet-delivered guided self-help for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) among university students in India

Psychotherapy (Chic). 2021 Dec;58(4):591-601. doi: 10.1037/pst0000383.


Online guided self-help may be an effective and scalable intervention for symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) among university students in India. Based on an online screen for GAD administered at 4 Indian universities, 222 students classified as having clinical (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, criteria) or subthreshold (Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire, Fourth Edition, score ≥ 5.7) GAD were randomly assigned to receive either 3 months of guided self-help cognitive-behavioral therapy (n = 117) or a waitlist control condition (n = 105). Guided self-help participants recorded high program usage on average across all participants enrolled (M = 9.99 hr on the platform; SD = 20.87). Intent-to-treat analyses indicated that participants in the guided self-help condition experienced significantly greater reductions than participants in the waitlist condition on GAD symptom severity (d = -.40), worry (d = -.43), and depressive symptoms (d = -.53). No usage variables predicted symptom change in the guided self-help condition. Participants on average reported that the program was moderately helpful, and a majority (82.1%) said they would recommend the program to a friend. Guided self-help appears to be a feasible and efficacious intervention for university students in India who meet clinical or subthreshold GAD criteria. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02410265). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders* / therapy
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • India
  • Internet
  • Students
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Universities*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02410265