BACKGROUND: Depressive symptoms are common in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Effective depression treatments exist; however, access to psychological support is characteristically low. Web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is accessible, nonstigmatizing, and may help address substantial personal and public health impact of comorbid T2DM and depression.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the Web-based CBT program, myCompass, for improving social and occupational functioning in adults with T2DM and mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. myCompass is a fully automated, self-guided public health treatment program for common mental health problems. The impact of treatment on depressive symptoms, diabetes-related distress, anxiety symptoms, and self-care behavior was also examined.
METHODS: Participants with T2DM and mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms (N=780) were recruited online via Google and Facebook advertisements targeting adults with T2DM and via community and general practice settings. Screening, consent, and self-report scales were all self-administered online. Participants were randomized using double-blind computerized block randomization to either myCompass (n=391) for 8 weeks plus a 4-week tailing-off period or an active placebo intervention (n=379). At baseline and postintervention (3 months), participants completed the Work and Social Adjustment Scale, the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcome measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 item, Diabetes Distress Scale, Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7 item, and items from the Self-Management Profile for Type 2 Diabetes.
RESULTS: myCompass users logged in an average of 6 times and completed an average of .29 modules. Healthy Lifestyles users logged in an average of 4 times and completed an average of 1.37 modules. At baseline, mean scores on several outcome measures, including the primary outcome of work and social functioning, were near to the normal range, despite an extensive recruitment process. Approximately 61.6% (473/780) of participants completed the postintervention assessment. Intention-to-treat analyses revealed improvement in functioning, depression, anxiety, diabetes distress, and healthy eating over time in both groups. Except for blood glucose monitoring and medication adherence, there were no specific between-group effects. Follow-up analyses suggested the outcomes did not depend on age, morbidity, or treatment engagement.
CONCLUSIONS: Improvement in social and occupational functioning and the secondary outcomes was generally no greater for myCompass users than for users of the control program at 3 months postintervention. These findings should be interpreted in light of near-normal mean baseline scores on several variables, the self-selected study sample, and sample attrition. Further attention to factors influencing uptake and engagement with mental health treatments by people with T2DM, and the impact of illness comorbidity on patient conceptualization and experience of mental health symptoms, is essential to reduce the burden of T2DM.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12615000931572; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=368109&isReview=true (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/7850eg8pi).