Abstract

ABSTRACT Guided and self-guided internet-delivered cognitive-behavioural therapy (ICBT) has been demonstrated to be efficacious in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders (ARDs). The aim of the current study was to examine the efficacy of guided and self-guided ICBT for adults diagnosed with ARDs using a meta-analytic synthesis of randomised controlled trials directly comparing the two treatment approaches. Eleven studies (n = 1414) were included. There was a small, but significantly pooled between-group effect size at post-treatment (g = 0.16; 95% CI: 0.03–0.28) favouring guided ICBT. At follow-up, the between-group effect size was small and non-significant (g = 0.13; 95% CI: −0.04–0.30). Gender distribution moderated outcome at post-treatment (higher proportions of females resulted in a smaller between-group effect size). Type of support provided in the guided-treatment arm moderated treatment outcome at follow-up (those receiving synchronous support had a larger between-group effect size). Amount of guidance in the guided-treatment arm moderated effect sizes at post-treatment and follow-up (more guidance leading to larger between-group effect sizes). Automated reminders, disorder type, and treatment length did not moderate outcomes. The results suggest that guided and self-guided ICBT interventions result in similar outcomes, however guided interventions may be marginally more effective in the short term.

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