Cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for clinical and subclinical symptoms of depression and general anxiety, and increases life satisfaction. Patients’ usage of CBT skills is a core aspect of treatment but there is insufficient empirical evidence suggesting that skills usage behaviours are a mechanism of clinical change. This study investigated if an internet-delivered CBT (iCBT) intervention increased the frequency of CBT skills usage behaviours and if this statistically mediated reductions in symptoms and increased life satisfaction. A two-group randomised controlled trial was conducted comparing internet-delivered CBT (n = 65) with a waitlist control group (n = 75). Participants were individuals experiencing clinically significant symptoms of depression or general anxiety. Mixed-linear models analyses revealed that the treatment group reported a significantly higher frequency of skills usage, lower symptoms, and higher life satisfaction by the end of treatment compared with the control group. Results from bootstrapping mediation analyses revealed that the increased skills usage behaviours statistically mediated symptom reductions and increased life satisfaction. Although skills usage and symptom outcomes were assessed concurrently, these findings support the notion that iCBT increases the frequency of skills usage behaviours and suggest that this may be an important mechanism of change.
- cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT)
- skills usage