Introduction: Mood and anxiety disorders typically emerge in adolescence and early adult life, but young adults are often reluctant to seek treatment. The Mood Mechanic course is a transdiagnostic internet-delivered psychological intervention for symptoms of depression and anxiety, targeted at people aged 18–24 years. The current study compared the efficacy of the course when delivered under strict research trial conditions (research trial; n = 192) with its effectiveness in a routine health-care setting (routine care; n = 222).
Methods: Symptoms of depression, anxiety and general distress at baseline, during, and after treatment were measured by the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), and Kessler 10-Item Scale (K-10), respectively.
Results: Both groups showed significant symptom reductions on all measures at post-treatment and 3-month follow-up. Deterioration rates were low, within-group effect sizes were large (>1.0) and both groups reported high levels of treatment satisfaction. Patients in routine care were less likely to complete post-treatment or follow-up symptom questionnaires.
Limitations: The study is based on self-reported data from treatment-seeking individuals that were motivated enough to start the course, and the absence of a control group and a formal diagnosis in the routine care sample means that some caution is needed in generalising the results.
Conclusion: The results show that the Mood Mechanic course is effective and acceptable in routine clinical care, and that online psychological interventions designed for young adults are an effective treatment option for this hard-to-reach group.
- cognitive behavior therapy
- young adults