The Acceptability of Internet-Based Treatment and Characteristics of an Adult Sample with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: An Internet Survey

Wootton, Bethany M.; Titov, Nickolai; Dear, Blake F.; Spence, Jay; Kemp, Alice
June 2011
PLoS ONE;2011, Vol. 6 Issue 6, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disabling anxiety disorder, but most individuals delay seeking treatment. Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) is an innovative service delivery method that may help to improve access to care, but the acceptability to consumers of such programs has not yet been established. Methodology: People with symptoms of OCD were invited to complete an online survey enquiring about demographic characteristics, symptom severity, and acceptability of Internet-based treatment. Demographic and symptom severity data were compared with people with OCD identified in a national epidemiological survey and with a sample of patients with OCD from a specialist outpatient anxiety clinic. Participants: 129 volunteers to an online Internet survey, 135 patients at a specialist anxiety disorders outpatient clinic, and 297 cases identified in a national epidemiological survey. Main Measures: Demographic characteristics, and severity of symptoms as measured by the Kessler 10-Item scale, the 12- item World Health Organisation Disability Assessment Schedule - Second Edition and the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale - Self Report Version Principal Findings: The Internet sample was similar demographically but reported more severe symptoms than the comparison groups, although had similar severity of symptoms of OCD compared with other clinical samples reported in the literature. Participants reported Internet-based treatment for OCD would be highly acceptable. Conclusions: Internet-based treatment may reduce barriers to accessing treatment to people with OCD. Individuals in this study were similar demographically to other samples and had similar severity of symptoms as those identified in other clinical samples, suggesting that Internet-based treatment using techniques employed in face-to-face treatment may be effective in this group. Internet-based treatments for OCD need to be developed and evaluated.


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