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Supplementary Material for: Brief Online Cognitive Behavioural Intervention for Dysfunctional Worry Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Randomised Controlled Trial

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posted on 19.11.2020, 08:02 by Wahlund T., Mataix-Cols D., OlofsdotterLauri K., deSchipper E., Ljótsson B., Aspvall K., Andersson E.
Introduction: Worries about the immediate and long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may for some individuals develop into pervasive worry that is disproportionate in its intensity or duration and significantly interferes with everyday life. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate if a brief self-guided, online psychological intervention can reduce the degree of dysfunctional worry related to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated symptoms. Methods: 670 adults from the general Swedish general population reporting daily uncontrollable worry about CO­VID-19 and its possible consequences (e.g., illness, death, the economy, one’s family) were randomised (1:1 ratio) to a 3-week self-guided, online cognitive behavioural intervention targeting dysfunctional COVID-19 worry and associated symptoms, or a waiting list of equal duration. The primary outcome measure was a COVID-19 adapted version of the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale administered at baseline and weeks 1–3 (primary endpoint). Follow-up assessments were conducted 1 month after treatment completion. The trial was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04341922) before inclusion of the first participant. Results: The main pre-specified intention-to-treat analysis indicated significant reductions in COVID-19-related worry for the intervention group compared to the waiting list (β = 1.14, Z = 9.27, p < 0.001), corresponding to a medium effect size (bootstrapped d = 0.74 [95% CI: 0.58–0.90]). Improvements were also seen on all secondary measures, including mood, daily functioning, insomnia, and intolerance of uncertainty. Participant satisfaction was high. No serious adverse events were recorded. Conclusions: A brief digital and easily scalable self-guided psychological intervention can significantly reduce dysfunctional worry and associated behavioural symptoms related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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