Online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depressive Symptoms in Rural Coronary Heart Disease Patients

Grants and Contracts Details


Rural areas are noted for marked disparities in mortality, cardiovascular health, and access to health care. Prevalence rates for both coronary heart disease (CHD) and depressive symptoms in rural areas are higher than in urban areas. These facts are important because CHD patients experience high rates of depressive symptoms, which are associated with increased risk of getting and dying from CHD. Moreover, in CHD patients, the common association of depressive symptoms with physical inactivity and medication nonadherence increases the risk of hospitalization. Unfortunately, rural people with CHD and depressive symptoms do not receive needed therapy for depressive symptoms because of lack of mental health providers in rural areas, worries about stigma leading to treatment avoidance, and difficulty accessing mental health care because of barriers to travel to get care. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), reduces depressive symptoms in CHD patients, but in its traditional form (in-person meetings of patient and therapist), CBT is resource-intensive and inaccessible to most rural patients. Application of wireless internet technology has the potential to make CBT more user-friendly, and accessible to rural patients. There has been a proliferation of alternative, internetbased, remote-delivery CBT interventions recently. The permutations of remote-delivery CBT fall under two categories – real-time, face-to-face, video-conferenced CBT (vcCBT) and self-administered internet-based CBT (iCBT). It is unclear which category of these delivery modalities is more effective. Determining which treatment option is more effective for treating depressive symptoms in rural patients with CHD and depressive symptoms will identify an easily accessible treatment option for rural patients. Using a randomized, controlled, stratified (by sex) design, we will compare vcCBT, iCBT and usual care in rural CHD patients on the primary outcome of depressive symptoms over time. Secondary outcomes of all-cause hospital readmissions, physical activity and medication adherence will be compared over time. We will also assess whether sex or stigma moderate intervention effects to determine whether effectiveness of treatment option varies by sex or stigma level. Data about outcomes will be collected at baseline, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months and provide important information about the trajectory of outcomes. Results from this study will provide new knowledge about which approach to treating depressive symptoms in rural CHD patients is more effective to improve decision-making in patients and healthcare providers, and increase the number of patients properly treated.
Effective start/end date10/1/2010/31/24


  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute: $2,888,022.00


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