The second Randomised Evaluation of the Effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and Acceptability of Computerised Therapy (REEACT-2) trial: does the provision of telephone support enhance the effectiveness of computer-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy? A randomised controlled trial

Sally Brabyn, Ricardo Araya, Michael Barkham, Peter Bower, Cindy Cooper, Ana Duarte, David Kessler, Sarah Knowles, Karina Lovell, Elizabeth Littlewood, Richard Mattock, Stephen Palmer, Jodi Pervin, David Richards, Debbie Tallon, David White, Simon Walker, Gillian Worthy, Simon Gilbody

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Computerised cognitive behaviour therapy (cCBT) is an efficient form of therapy potentially improving access to psychological care. Indirect evidence suggests that the uptake and effectiveness of cCBT can be increased if facilitated by telephone, but this is not routinely offered in the NHS.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of telephone-facilitated free-to-use cCBT [e.g. MoodGYM (National Institute for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia)] with minimally supported cCBT.

DESIGN: This study was a multisite, pragmatic, open, two-arm, parallel-group randomised controlled trial with a concurrent economic evaluation.

SETTING: Participants were recruited from GP practices in Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield, Hull and the north-east of England.

PARTICIPANTS: Potential participants were eligible to participate in the trial if they were adults with depression scoring ≥ 10 on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9).

INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomised using a computer-generated random number sequence to receive minimally supported cCBT or telephone-facilitated cCBT. Participants continued with usual general practitioner care.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was self-reported symptoms of depression, as assessed by the PHQ-9 at 4 months post randomisation.

SECONDARY OUTCOMES: Secondary outcomes were depression at 12 months and anxiety, somatoform complaints, health utility (as assessed by the European Quality of Life-5 Dimensions questionnaire) and resource use at 4 and 12 months.

RESULTS: Clinical effectiveness: 182 participants were randomised to minimally supported cCBT and 187 participants to telephone-facilitated cCBT. There was a difference in the severity of depression at 4 and 12 months, with lower levels in the telephone-facilitated group. The odds of no longer being depressed (defined as a PHQ-9 score of < 10) at 4 months were twice as high in the telephone-facilitated cCBT group [odds ratio (OR) 2.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.23 to 3.42]. The benefit of telephone-facilitated cCBT was no longer significant at 12 months (OR 1.63, 95% CI 0.98 to 2.71). At 4 months the between-group difference in PHQ-9 scores was 1.9 (95% CI 0.5 to 3.3). At 12 months the results still favoured telephone-facilitated cCBT but were no longer statistically significant, with a difference in PHQ-9 score of 0.9 (95% CI -0.5 to 2.3). When considering the whole follow-up period, telephone-facilitated cCBT was asssociated with significantly lower PHQ-9 scores than minimally supported cCBT (mean difference -1.41, 95% CI -2.63 to -0.17; p = 0.025). There was a significant improvement in anxiety scores over the trial period (between-group difference 1.1, 95% CI 0.1 to 2.3; p = 0.037). In the case of somatic complaints (assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire-15), there was a borderline statistically significant difference over the trial period (between-group difference 1.1, 95% CI 0.0 to 1.8; p = 0.051). There were gains in quality-adjusted life-years at reduced cost when telephone facilitation was added to MoodGYM. However, the results were subject to uncertainty.

CONCLUSIONS: The results showed short-term benefits from the addition of telephone facilitation to cCBT. The effect was small to moderate and comparable with that of other primary care psychological interventions. Telephone facilitation should be considered when offering cCBT for depression.

LIMITATIONS: Participants' depression was assessed with the PHQ-9, cCBT use was quite low and there was a slightly greater than anticipated loss to follow-up.

FUTURE RESEARCH RECOMMENDATIONS: Improve the acceptability of cCBT and its capacity to address coexisting disorders. Large-scale pragmatic trials of cCBT with bibliotherapy and telephone-based interventions are required.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN55310481.

FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 20, No. 89. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-92
Number of pages93
JournalHealth technology assessment
Issue number89
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2016

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