Community-based group guided self-help intervention for low mood and stress: randomised controlled trial

Christopher Williams*, Carrie-Anne McClay, Lynsay Matthews, Alex McConnachie, Caroline Haig, Andrew Walker, Jill Morrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


To date no studies have explored the effectiveness of written cognitive–behavioural therapy (CBT) resources for low mood and stress delivered via a course of self-help classes in a community setting.

To assess the effectiveness of an 8-week community-based CBT self-help group classes on symptoms of depression, anxiety and social function at 6 months (trial registration: ISRCTN86292664).

In total, 142 participants were randomly allocated to immediate (n = 71) or delayed access to a low-intensity CBT intervention (n = 71). Measures of depression, anxiety and social function were collected at baseline and 6 months.

There was a significant improvement for the primary outcome of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) score (mean between-group difference: –3.64, 95% CI –6.06 to –1.23; P = 0.004). The percentage of participants reducing their PHQ-9 score between baseline and 6 months by 50% or more was 17.9% for the delayed access group and 43.8% for the immediate access group. Secondary outcomes also improved including anxiety and social function. The intervention was cost neutral. The probabilities of a net benefit at willingness to pay thresholds of £20 000, £25 000 or £30 000 were 0.928, 0.944 and 0.955, respectively.

Low-intensity class-based CBT delivered within a community setting is effective for reducing depression, anxiety and impaired social function at little additional cost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalThe British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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