Internet-based psychotherapy in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): protocol of a randomized controlled trial
Conzelmann, Annette; Hollmann, Karsten; Haigis, Anna; Lautenbacher, Heinrich; Bizu, Verena; App, Rehan; Nickola, Matthias; Wewetzer, Gunilla; Wewetzer, Christoph; Ivarsson, Tord; Skokauskas, Norbert; Wolters, Lidewij H.; Skarphedinsson, Gudmundur; Weidle, Bernhard; de Haan, Else; Torp, Nor Christian; Compton, Scott N.; Calvo, Rosa; Lera-Miguel, Sara; Alt, Annika; Hohnecker, Carolin Sarah; Allgaier, Katharina; Renner, Tobias J.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionTrials. 2022, 23 . 10.1186/s13063-022-06062-w
Background Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in children can lead to a huge burden on the concerned patients and their family members. While successful state-of-the art cognitive behavioral interventions exist, there is still a lack of available experts for treatment at home, where most symptoms manifest. Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) could overcome these restrictions; however, studies about iCBT in children with OCD are rare and mostly target computerized self-help resources and only email contact with the therapist. Therefore, we intended to build up and to evaluate an iCBT approach for children with OCD, replacing successful elements of traditional in-office face-to-face CBT, with face-to-face teleconferences, online materials, and apps. Methods With the help of a pilot feasibility study, we developed the iCBT consisting of 14 teleconference sessions with the child and parents. The sessions are supported by an app assessing daily and weekly symptoms and treatment course completed by children and parents. Additionally, we obtain heart rate and activity scores from the child via wristbands during several days and exposure sessions. Using a waiting list randomized control trial design, we aim to treat and analyze 20 children with OCD immediately after a diagnostic session whereas the control group of another set of 20 OCD patients will be treated after waiting period of 16 weeks. We will recruit 30 patients in each group to take account for potential dropouts. Outcomes for the treatment group are evaluated before randomization (baseline, t0), 16 weeks (end of treatment, t1), 32 weeks (follow-up 1, t2), and 48 weeks after randomization (follow-up 2, t3). For the waiting list group, outcomes are measured before the first randomization (baseline), at 16 weeks (waiting list period), 32 weeks (end of treatment), 48 weeks after the first randomization (follow-up I), and 64 weeks after the first randomization (follow-up II). Discussion Based on our experience of feasibility during the pilot study, we were able to develop the iCBT approach and the current study will investigate treatment effectiveness. Building up an iCBT approach, resembling traditional in-office face-to-face therapy, may ensure the achievement of well-known therapy effect factors, the acceptance in both patients and clinicians, and the wide distribution within the health system.