Distance-delivered Interventions for PTSD: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Olthuis, Janine V.
Asmundson, Gordon J.G.
McGrath, Patrick J.
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This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy of distance-delivered, guided approaches to treatment (e.g., delivered via telephone, Internet, mail, videoconferencing) for clinical and subclinical post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A comprehensive search yielded 19 randomized controlled trials (1491 participants) to be included. Meta-analyses revealed that distance-delivered interventions led to significant within-group improvements in PTSD symptoms at post-treatment (g=0.81, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.97) and 3-6 month follow-up (g=0.78, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.97). Within-group depression and quality of life outcomes showed similar results, with medium post-treatment and follow-up effects. Compared to a waiting list, distance delivery (specifically, Internet treatments) led to superior PTSD outcomes (g=0.68, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.86). Compared to face-to-face interventions, distance delivery (specifically, videoconferencing treatments) did not result in significantly different PTSD outcomes at post-treatment (g=-0.05, 95% CI -0.31 to 0.20) but led to inferior outcomes at 3-6 month follow-up (g=-0.25, 95% CI -0.44 to -0.07). Distance delivery of PTSD treatment is promising, but research is needed to determine its optimal use.