Internet-delivered interventions for personality disorders – A scoping review

Bram van der Boom, Nikolaos Boumparis, Tara Donker, Derek de Beurs, Arnoud Arntz, Heleen Riper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Personality disorders (PDs) form a substantial part of the mental health disease burden. Effective therapies to treat PDs exist, but they are time-consuming, costly, and difficult to scale up. Delivery through the internet could facilitate the scalability of effective treatment methods. Objective: This review summarizes existing evidence on internet-delivered psychotherapy for personality disorders. Methods: Because few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been carried out, we conducted a scoping review. We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycInfo, and Cochrane. Studies were selected if they conveyed research findings on internet-delivered PD interventions. Results: Eleven studies were included. The majority (n = 8) focused specifically on borderline personality disorder (BPD) and the other three on PD in general. The most frequently used form of intervention (n = 7) was the addition of a mobile app to a conventional evidence-based face-to-face treatment such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Most interventions (n = 8) were still in the development and piloting phase; only two RCTs were found. Usability and patient satisfaction were moderate to high in all studies. Three studies demonstrated significant decreases in borderline personality disorder symptoms. The majority of the studies found were pilot or feasibility studies, most involving mobile apps offered in addition to face-to-face treatment. The add-ons were rated feasible, acceptable, and useful by patients. Reported challenges involved technical difficulties such as programming errors and bugs. Only 45% of the included studies reported on changes in PD symptoms, all showing reduction of symptoms and absence of adverse effects. Conclusions: This scoping review found that internet interventions for PD are still under-researched, although initial outcomes show promise. The outcomes also encourage future research in terms of developing internet interventions as an add-on to existing treatments, as well as working toward the creation and testing of more encompassing internet-delivered treatments for PD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100525
Number of pages10
JournalInternet Interventions
Early online date1 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Internet intervention
  • Online
  • Personality disorder
  • Psychotherapy
  • Scoping review
  • eHealth

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