Advances in Mental Health, Vol 11, No 3 (2013)

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Examination of the utility of a self-help computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) program (SPARX) in an acute adolescent inpatient unit

Candace Bobier, Karolina Stasiak, Helen Mountford, Sally Merry, Stephanie Moor



Background: Recently, advances in computer technology have made it possible to deliver evidence-based psychological therapies in a computerised self-help format - a promising approach in the treatment of depression in children and adolescents. We examine the utility of offering an e-therapy/computerised tool (SPARX) in an acute adolescent inpatient setting to patients who typically experience a greater severity of mental illness than in previous trials of computerised therapy.

Method:  Patients admitted to hospital for treatment were invited to use SPARX when their mental state had stabilised and they were otherwise able to use the computer program with minimal assistance.  We considered utility using uptake and adherence rates and patient rated satisfaction with the program and collected demographic descriptive information.

Results:  Ninety percent of those offered agreed to trial e-therapy, with 60% continuing beyond the first module and 10% completing the program prior to discharge.  Amongst those participants who completed satisfaction questionnaires, the majority felt that the e-therapy was useful and would appeal to other young people. Adherence to the program was impeded by time constraints and illness acuity.

Conclusion: It is feasible to offer e-therapy in an inpatient unit and patients were generally interested in trying it. Practical aspects such as timing of delivery and participation in other therapies likely impacted on completion rates. For those who gave feedback, nearly all felt e-therapy would appeal to other young people.


Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
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