Initial outcomes of transdiagnostic internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy tailored to public safety personnel: longitudinal observational study

Heather D. Hadjistavropoulos*, Hugh C. McCall, David L. Thiessen, Ziyin Huang, R. Nicholas Carleton, Blake F. Dear, Nickolai Titov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Canadian public safety personnel (PSP) experience high rates of mental health disorders and face many barriers to treatment. Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) overcomes many such barriers, and is effective for treating depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. 

Objective: This study was designed to fill a gap in the literature regarding the use of ICBT tailored specifically for PSP. We examined the effectiveness of a tailored ICBT program for treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms among PSP in the province of Saskatchewan. 

Methods: We employed a longitudinal single-group open-trial design (N=83) with outcome measures administered at screening and at 8 weeks posttreatment. Data were collected between December 5, 2019 and September 11, 2020. Primary outcomes included changes in depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms. Secondary outcomes included changes in functional impairment; symptoms of panic, social anxiety, and anger; as well as treatment satisfaction, working alliance, and program usage patterns. 

Results: Clients reported large symptom reductions on measures of depression and anxiety, as well as moderate reductions on measures of PTSD and secondary symptoms, except for social anxiety. Most clients who reported symptoms above clinical cut-offs on measures of depression, anxiety, and PTSD during screening experienced clinically significant symptom reductions. Results suggested good engagement, treatment satisfaction, and working alliance. 

Conclusions: Tailored, transdiagnostic ICBT demonstrated promising outcomes as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD among Saskatchewan PSP and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere27610
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • CBT
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Depression
  • Diagnosis
  • Effectiveness
  • ICBT
  • Internet
  • Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Literature
  • Longitudinal
  • Observational
  • Outcome
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • PTSD
  • Public safety personnel

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