Internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy for depression and anxiety in breast cancer survivors: Results from a randomised controlled trial


Selin Akkol-Solakoglu | David Hevey



Depression and anxiety symptoms are common among breast cancer survivors. Access to evidence-based psychological therapy remains a major challenge. Despite the proven effectiveness of internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy (iCBT) in reducing depression and anxiety, the research with cancer survivors is still limited. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an iCBT intervention on depression and anxiety, quality of life, fear of recurrence, active and avoidant coping, and perceived social support in breast cancer survivors.


Seventy-two participants were randomised to a 7-module guided iCBT intervention or treatment-as-usual (TAU). Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale total score (HADS-T). The secondary measures included the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Core Questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ), Breast Cancer Worry Scale (CWC), Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Encountered (Brief COPE), Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey (MOS-SSS). All were completed at baseline, post-intervention, and 2-month follow-up. Groups were compared using linear mixed models.


Although non-significant, iCBT group had lower HADS-T scores than TAU at post-intervention. This difference was statistically significant at 2-month follow-up (Hedge's g = −0.094). No significant group-by-time interaction effects were found for quality of life, fear of recurrence, active coping, avoidant coping, and perceived social support. The intervention adherence was acceptable; 52.8% (n = 28) completed all seven modules.


iCBT intervention demonstrated its preliminary effectiveness in reducing distress in breast cancer survivors.

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