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Online Support Groups for Depression and Anxiety

The recruitment status of this study is unknown. The completion date has passed and the status has not been verified in more than two years.
Verified July 2010 by University College, London.
Recruitment status was:  Active, not recruiting
Information provided by:
University College, London Identifier:
First received: June 22, 2010
Last updated: July 20, 2010
Last verified: July 2010
The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of online support groups for anxiety and depression.

Condition Intervention Phase
Depression Anxiety Behavioral: Online support group Behavioral: Expressive writing Phase 1 Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Randomised Controlled Trial of an Existing Online Support Group for Depression and Anxiety

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University College, London:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale [ Time Frame: Zero, three and six months ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Satisfaction with Life Scale [ Time Frame: Zero, three and six months ]
  • The Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey [ Time Frame: Zero, three and six months ]
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment [ Time Frame: Zero, three and six months ]
  • The Illness perception questionnaire [ Time Frame: Zero, three and six months ]

Estimated Enrollment: 1000
Study Start Date: May 2010
Estimated Study Completion Date: February 2011
Estimated Primary Completion Date: February 2011 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Online support group Behavioral: Online support group
Expressive writing involves people writing about their thoughts and feelings, often upsetting ones, for a short period of time.
Active Comparator: Expressive writing Behavioral: Expressive writing
Online support groups are internet forums where like-minded people give and receive both informational and emotional support.

Detailed Description:

In recent years the number of online support groups for conditions like depression and anxiety has grown rapidly. Millions of people are thought to be using them around the world. This research aims to help find out whether the use of online support groups is beneficial and to learn more about what happens in these groups.

This research will compare online support groups with expressive writing. Expressive writing involves people writing about their thoughts and feelings, often upsetting ones, for a short period of time. In online support groups giving and receiving support from others can be helpful while expressive writing about emotional issues can be cathartic.

1,000 participants will be recruited online from the UK, USA and Canada and randomly assigned to either an existing online support group or to an expressive writing condition.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Self-defined depression & anxiety
  • Resident in the UK, US or Canada
  • Access to the internet

Exclusion Criteria:

  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01149265

United Kingdom
University College London
London, United Kingdom, WC1E 6BT
Sponsors and Collaborators
University College, London
Principal Investigator: Chris Barker University College, London
  More Information

Responsible Party: Dr Chris Barker, University College London Identifier: NCT01149265     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UCL1376/001
Study First Received: June 22, 2010
Last Updated: July 20, 2010

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Anxiety Disorders
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on July 21, 2017