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Brief psychological interventions in face-to-face and telehealth formats: a comparison of outcomes in a naturalistic setting

Isabella Lalor (Psychology Department, Health Service Executive, Roscommon, Ireland)
Chloe Costello (Psychology Department, Health Service Executive, Roscommon, Ireland)
Matthew O'Sullivan (Psychology Department, Health Service Executive, Roscommon, Ireland)
Catherine Rice (Psychology Department, Health Service Executive, Roscommon, Ireland)
Padraig Collins (Psychology Department, Health Service Executive, Roscommon, Ireland)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 14 October 2022

Issue publication date: 2 February 2023

157

Abstract

Purpose

In this study, the authors aimed to compare the effectiveness of low-intensity psychological interventions provided face-to-face (FTF) with those provided by telephone and video-based modalities, in a primary care psychology service for individuals with mild-to-moderate mental health difficulties.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants (N = 384) were service users who completed at least one intervention with the service over a two-year period between 2019 and 2021. Using psychometric measures of anxiety and low mood, a repeated measures design pre-, mid- and post-intervention evaluated service users’ clinical outcomes. Data analysis was carried out on those participants (N = 289) who had completed all three of the required psychometric measures.

Findings

All formats of intervention showed a significant and equivalent reduction in low mood and anxiety scores at the completion of the intervention, regardless of the format of therapy. This suggests no discernible difference in the effectiveness of the three formats of intervention in this service. In addition, no significant association was found between the format of intervention and service user dropout rates.

Originality/value

This study availed of data arising pre and during a pandemic as a naturalistic experiment into the use of telehealth in delivering brief psychological interventions in a frontline community service. The effectiveness of telephone and video-based brief psychological interventions was found to be comparable to that experienced by FTF interventions. This provides preliminary support for the inclusion of telehealth options for service users engaging with low-intensity psychotherapeutic services.

Keywords

Citation

Lalor, I., Costello, C., O'Sullivan, M., Rice, C. and Collins, P. (2023), "Brief psychological interventions in face-to-face and telehealth formats: a comparison of outcomes in a naturalistic setting", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 82-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-05-2022-0029

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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