Online training helps prevent depression

June 01, 2016

Inspired by promising tests of web-based health intervention measures, the researchers aimed to find out whether the risk of developing depression could be reduced by a six-week online training course called GET.ON. GET.ON is based on established therapy methods involving systematic problem solving and behavioural activation. During the course participants completed a training unit consisting of videos, texts and tasks and lasting between 30 and 90 minutes each week, and practised what they had learned in their day-to-day lives between units. Throughout the six weeks they received support from their own personal coach who they were able to contact online.

Effective and flexible prevention

The team studied 406 people who were at increased risk of developing depression but were not suffering from the disorder. In their randomised clinical study half of the test subjects took part in the GET.ON training course while the other half received standard written instructions on preventing depression. The participants were then examined in a diagnostic telephone interview a year later. The results showed that 27 percent of the group who had completed the GET.ON course had developed depression over the course of the year -- in comparison to 41 percent of the control group who did not take part in the online training. In terms of the 'number needed to treat', this means that for each six people who take part in GET.ON, one person can be prevented from developing depression. This translates to a 39 percent reduction in relative risk.

'We were able to show with the study that GET.ON can reduce the risk of depression occurring effectively,' says Dr. David Ebert from the Chair of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at FAU who initiated the online training course and led the study. 'GET.ON offers people with initial symptoms a highly effective but also flexible and low-cost way of successfully preventing the development of a depressive disorder that would require treatment.'

Highly relevant for health policy

The results of the GET.ON study are highly relevant for health policy. According to the estimates of the Global Burden of Disease Study by the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is expected to become the main cause of premature death and disease-related disability in the near future -- becoming more of a burden than coronary heart disease, Alzheimer's disease or diabetes. A study by the Robert Koch Institute indicates that around 15 percent of women and 8 percent of men will suffer from depression over the course of their lives. 'Studies show that current methods of treatment are only able to reduce the suffering caused by depression by around a third,' David Ebert explains. 'Effective prevention strategies that provide support at an early stage are of equal importance to sufferers, the healthcare system and the economy. For this reason, Germany's new Prevention Act has now defined the prevention of depression as an important task for the healthcare system for the first time. The current study shows that this is indeed a possibility with online training.'

The training course is already being offered by Barmer GEK, making it one of the first preventative measures for depression available throughout Germany.
-end-


University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.