Researchers from Monash University in Victoria, Australia, compared Panic Online (PO), an internet-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) intervention, to best-practice, face-to-face CBT, for people with panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.

Eighty-six people with a primary diagnosis of panic disorder were recruited from Victoria, Australia. Participants were randomly assigned to either the online CBT condition (n=46) or the face-to-face CBT condition (n=40).

Effects of the internet-based CBT program were found to be comparable to those of face-to-face CBT. Both interventions produced significant reductions in panic disorder and agoraphobia, as measured by clinician severity ratings, self-reported severity, panic attack frequency, measures of depression, anxiety, stress and panic related cognitions, as well as by displayed improvements in quality of life.

Participants rated both treatment conditions as equally credible and satisfying. Participants in the face-to-face CBT treatment group cited higher enjoyment with communicating with their therapist.  The online condition required significantly less therapist time than the face-to-face CBT condition.

Citation: Kiropoulos LA, Klein B, Austin DW, Gilson K, Pier C, Mitchell J, Ciechomski L. Is internet-based CBT for panic disorder and agoraphobia as effective as face-to-face CBT? Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2008 Dec;22 (8): pages 1273-84. Epub 2008 Jan 18. [email protected]