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Keywords:

  • computerised cognitive behaviour therapy;
  • older people;
  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • Beating the Blues

Objective

The study objective was to determine the acceptability and treatment outcome of using Beating the Blues (BTB) with older people (65+ years). Specific aims included identifying the treatment uptake and drop-out rate, and describing the role of basic demographics in therapy uptake.

Method

Fifty-eight participants, experiencing symptoms of depression, were given a free choice of receiving treatment as usual (TAU) plus BTB (TAU + BTB) or TAU alone. All participants completed demographic questionnaires and a range of outcome measures at baseline, 2 months after baseline (end of treatment) and 3 months after baseline (follow-up).

Results

Thirty-three participants (56.9%) opted to receive BTB and reported having more experience and confidence using a computer than those who declined BTB. Twenty-four participants (72.7%) went on to complete all eight BTB sessions. Statistical analysis found significant differences between the two treatment groups, with the TAU + BTB group showing greater improvements in their symptoms of depression and anxiety than the TAU group by the end of treatment and at follow-up. Furthermore, the TAU + BTB group had a significantly higher percentage of participants who met criteria for clinically significant improvement in their symptoms of depression by the end of treatment and at follow-up.

Conclusion

Although further research is required, including a randomised controlled trial, the results of this initial pilot study provide evidence that BTB may offer an acceptable and effective treatment option for older people. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.