Feasibility and Outcome of a Web-based Self-help Intervention for Depressive Symptoms in Patients with Multiple Scleroris: A Pilot Study

R.E. Boeschoten, M.M Nieuwenhuis, P.C. van Oppen, B.M.J. Uitdehaag, C.H. Polman, E.H. Collette, P. Cuijpers, A.T.F. Beekman, J. Dekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depressive symptoms are highly prevalent among patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Web-based problem solving therapy (PST) is easily accessible and showed to be effective in depressed patients. Objectives: The aims of this pilot study were to examine feasibility and outcome (reduction of depressive symptoms) of an applied web-based PST intervention in MS patients. Methods: Forty-four MS patients with mild to severe depressive symptoms followed a web-based PST intervention. Feasibility was measured by compliance rate and satisfaction scales. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) was used to measure depressive symptoms before and after the intervention. Results: The compliance rate was 52%, and 85% of the patients rated the quality of the intervention as good or excellent. After the intervention, depressive symptoms had significantly decreased (BDI-II change: mean = - 3.9, p = 0.01, d = 0.51 in intention-to-treat analysis; BDI-II change: mean = - 9.0, p < 0.001, d = 1.50 in completers analysis). Conclusions: This study suggests that applied web-based PST is feasible and reduces depressive symptoms in MS patients. Especially MS patients who experience disease-related or other barriers to participate in face-to-face counselling could benefit. However, ways to increase compliance should be considered. A randomized controlled trial is recommended to more extensively investigate effectiveness of this intervention in treating depressive symptoms in MS patients. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the neurological sciences
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Cite this