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Consensus Statement on Defining and Measuring Negative Effects of Internet Interventions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2014 (English)In: Abstracts from the 44th Congress of the European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies, 2014Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Internet interventions have a great potential for alleviating emotional distress and promoting mental health. A number of clinical trials have demonstrated their efficacy for several psychiatric conditions, and Internet interventions will likely become a common alternative to face-to-face treatments. Meanwhile, research has paid little attention to the potential negative effects associated with treatment, warranting further investigation of the possibility that some patients might deteriorate or experience adverse events. Evidence from face-to-face treatments suggests that negative effects afflict 5-10% of all patients undergoing treatment in terms of deterioration alone. However, there is currently a lack of consensus on how to define and measure negative effects in psychotherapy research in general, leaving researchers without practical guidelines for monitoring and reporting negative effects in clinical trials.

Method: The current paper seeks to provide recommendations that could promote the study of negative effects in Internet interventions with the aim of increasing the knowledge of its occurrence and characteristics. Ten leading experts in the field of Internet interventions were invited to participate and share their perspective on how to explore negative effects, using the Delphi technique to facilitate a dialogue and reach an agreement.

Results: The importance of conducting further research on negative effects is emphasized, and suggestions on how to classify and measure negative effects in Internet interventions are provided, involving methods from both quantitative and qualitative research. Potential mechanisms underlying negative effects are also presented, differentiating common factors shared with face-to-face treatments from those unique to treatments delivered via the Internet.

Conclusion: Negative effects are to be expected and need to be acknowledged to a greater extent, advising researchers to systematically probe for negative effects whenever conducting clinical trials involving Internet interventions, as well as to share their findings in scientific journals.

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consensus statement, internet interventions
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-113638OAI: diva2:786516
EABCT 2014: 44th Congress of the European Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Therapies, September 10-13, 2014, The Hague, The Netherlands.

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Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-02-05 Last updated: 2016-03-04Bibliographically approved

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Rozental, AlexanderCarlbring, Per
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