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Impact of a mobile phone and web program on symptom and functional outcomes for people with mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and stress: a randomised controlled trial.

Proudfoot, Judith; Clarke, Janine; Birch, Mary-Rose; Whitton, Alexis; Parker, Gordon; Manicavasagar, Vijaya; Harrison, Virginia; Christensen, Helen and Hadzi-Pavlovic, Dusan (2013). Impact of a mobile phone and web program on symptom and functional outcomes for people with mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and stress: a randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 13(1) pp. 312–324.

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Mobile phone-based psychological interventions enable real time self-monitoring and self-management, and large-scale dissemination. However, few studies have focused on mild-to-moderate symptoms where public health need is greatest, and none have targeted work and social functioning. This study reports outcomes of a CONSORT-compliant randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of myCompass, a self-guided psychological treatment delivered via mobile phone and computer, designed to reduce mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and stress, and improve work and social functioning.


Community-based volunteers with mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety and/or stress (N= 720) were randomly assigned to the myCompass program, an attention control intervention, or to a waitlist condition for seven weeks. The interventions were fully automated, without any human input or guidance. Participants’ symptoms and functioning were assessed at baseline, post-intervention and 3-month follow-up, using the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale.


Retention rates at post-intervention and follow-up for the study sample were 72.1% (n= 449) and 48.6% (n= 350) respectively. The myCompass group showed significantly greater improvement in symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress and in work and social functioning relative to both control conditions at the end of the 7-week intervention phase (between-group effect sizes ranged from d= .22 to d= .55 based on the observed means). Symptom scores remained at near normal levels at 3-month follow-up. Participants in the attention control condition showed gradual symptom improvement during the post-intervention phase and their scores did not differ from the myCompass group at 3-month follow-up.


The myCompass program is an effective public health program, facilitating rapid improvements in symptoms and in work and social functioning for individuals with mild-to-moderate mental health problems.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Proudfoot et al.
ISSN: 1471-244X
Extra Information: 12 pp.
Keywords: eHealth; public health; depression; anxiety; psychological stress; mobile health; intervention studies; work functioning
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
Item ID: 40152
Depositing User: Virginia Harrison
Date Deposited: 16 May 2014 08:43
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 15:40
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