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Efficacy of digital mental health interventions for PTSD symptoms: A systematic review of meta-analyses.

Tng, G. Y., Koh, J., Soh, X. C., Majeed, N. M., & Hartanto, A.



Background: The present systematic review aimed to synthesize the results of meta-analyses which examine the effects of digital mental health interventions (DMHIs) on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and investigate whether intervention characteristics (i.e., technique, timeframe, and therapeutic guidance) and methodological characteristics including outcome measures and sample inclusion criteria (age, gender, socioeconomic status, country, comorbidity) moderate the efficacy of digital interventions.

Methods: A systematic search of various sources (ECSCOhost PsycInfo, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, EBSCOhost ERIC, Google Scholar, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses) including five peer-reviewed journals was conducted to identify relevant meta-analyses up to December 2023, and 11 meta-analyses were included in the final review.

Results: Overall, our review elucidates that DMHIs are appropriate for alleviating PTSD symptoms in adults, with more consistent evidence supporting the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)-based, compared to non-CBT-based, interventions when compared to control conditions. However, we found inconclusive evidence that the efficacy of DMHIs varied according to intervention timeframe, therapeutic guidance, or sample characteristics.

Limitations: A relatively limited number of different populations was sampled across meta-analyses. Further, while our review focused on PTSD symptoms to indicate the efficacy of digital interventions, other indices of effectiveness were not examined.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate the clinical utility of DMHIs for managing PTSD symptoms particularly when CBT-based intervention techniques are employed.

Keywords: Digital mental health interventions; Meta-analysis; Posttraumatic stress disorder.

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