Investigators from University College in Dublin, Ireland, evaluated the effectiveness of the computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (cCBT) program, MoodGYM, for the reduction in symptoms of general psychological distress (the primary outcome), depression, anxiety, stress, and impaired daily functioning.

Participants for this randomized controlled trial, with a waiting list control condition, were 149 public mental health service users (aged 18-61 [M = 35.3 years; SD = 10.3]) waiting for interventions.

Self-report outcome measures were administered online at baseline and post-intervention (after 32 days).

There were extremely high dropout rates. A post-intervention completers analysis examined 28 MoodGYM participants and 38 waiting list control participants. MoodGYM was significantly more effective than the waiting list control for the reduction of symptoms of general psychological distress (F[1, 64] = 4.45; p < .05) and stress (F[1, 64] = 5.35; p < .05) but not depression, anxiety, or impaired daily functioning.

The researchers concluded that, due to high dropout rates, self-help cCBT programs such as MoodGYM should not be provided as front-line treatments. However, as it is likely to be agreeable and beneficial to some service users, perhaps self-help cCBT should be provided as an additional treatment option.

Citation: Twomey C1, O'Reilly G, Byrne M, Bury M, White A, Kissane S, McMahon A, Clancy N. A randomized controlled trial of the computerized CBT programme, MoodGYM, for public mental health service users waiting for interventions. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2014 Nov; 53 (4): pages 433-50.