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Online cognitive behavioural therapy is effective for depression in primary care

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Is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered online in real time by a therapist effective for patients with depression in primary care?


297 individuals with a score of ≥14 on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and confirmed diagnosis of a new episode of depression within 4 weeks preceding referral. Individuals were from 55 general practices in Bristol, London and Warwickshire. Patients treated for depression in the 3 months before the present episode, patients with a history of bipolar disorder, alcohol or substance misuse and those already receiving psychotherapy were excluded.


Universities of Bristol and Warwick and the Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free Campus London, UK. Recruitment took place between October 2005 and February 2008.


Usual care from general practitioner (GP) with or without ten 55-min sessions of online CBT (with a therapist online in real time) to be completed within 16 weeks of randomisation where possible.


Primary: Recovery from depression 4 months after randomisation as assessed by BDI, where a score <10 represented recovery; secondary: 8-month BDI score (analysed …

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  • Source of funding: The BUPA Foundation.


  • Competing interests None.

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