This article was originally published here
Telemed J E Health. 2021 Oct 7. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2021.0393. Online ahead of print.
Background: e-Health interventions for mental health have the potential to reduce burdens on health care systems, but large survey studies find low acceptability for these interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic may make attitudes toward e-health more malleable. The current study examined whether an intervention to improve attitudes toward Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) has a greater impact during the COVID-19 pandemic than before the pandemic. Materials and Methods: Individuals (N = 662) recruited from a large university and surrounding community who participated in a study about the acceptability of iCBT in 2018 and 2019 were asked to participate in a follow-up survey. In the original study, participants were randomized to receive or not receive a rationale designed to increase acceptability of iCBT, and then they completed measures of acceptability and outcome expectancy for iCBT. Fifty-one participants enrolled in the follow-up study from May to July 2020. They received a treatment rationale for iCBT (or not) in keeping with randomization from the parent study and re-completed measures assessing the acceptability and outcome expectancy for iCBT. Results: Contrary to hypotheses, two-way analyses of covariance (ANCOVA’s) demonstrated that there was no significant interaction between time point and rationale condition on acceptability or outcome expectancy for iCBT. There was a significant main effect of rationale condition on acceptability, such that participants who received a treatment rationale reported greater acceptability for iCBT. There were no significant main effects of time. Conclusions: A treatment rationale was effective in improving acceptability for iCBT in a general population sample, but not more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.