Perceptions of and Opinions on a Computerized Behavioral Activation Program for the Treatment of Depression in Young People: Thematic Analysis

Lucy Tindall, Paul Toner, Antonina Mikocka-Walus, Barry Wright

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Abstract

Background:
Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability in young people, with approximately 20% having experienced a depressive episode by the age of 18 years. Behavioral activation (BA), a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence–recommended treatment for adults with depression, has shown preliminary support for its use with young people. BA may have the potential to be adapted and delivered in a computerized format to address the barriers often associated with young people accessing support. Despite the benefits of adopting computerized therapy delivery, the limited effectiveness of some programs has been attributed to a failure to tailor interventions to patients and practices. Therefore, while developing new treatments, it is important that target users be involved in the intervention design.

Objective:
This qualitative study aims to explore the views and preferences of young people and health care professionals regarding the development of a new computerized BA therapy for young people with low mood or depression, to ensure that the therapy was suitable for the target user.

Methods:
Semistructured focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with young people (those with experience in accessing support and those without) and health care professionals regarding the development of a new computerized BA therapy for young people with low mood or depression. The data were analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results:
A total of 27 individuals, comprising both health care professionals and young people, participated in this study. Vital information pertaining to the important components of a new therapy, including its presentation, delivery, and content, was collected.

Conclusions:
Variations in perspectives highlighted the need to adopt a systemic approach in therapy development by considering the opinions of young people with and without experience in accessing mental health support and health care professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19743
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2021

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