An open trial of internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy for first year medical students

Emily G. Lattie*, Kathleen Kashima, Jennifer L. Duffecy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Medical students experience high rates of depression, and often face barriers to receiving traditional mental health services. Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) programs offer a more accessible method of receiving care. Here, we conducted an open trial of an iCBT program for medical students and characterize program usage, program users, and self-reported psychosocial symptoms and coping skills. Methods: All incoming first year medical students at a large state-run university were invited to use an iCBT program which focused on mood management and mood symptom prevention. Participants received access to the 16-week program and completed measures of perceived stress, quality of life, and the development of cognitive and behavioral coping skills at baseline and end of program. Results: Of the 194 students in the class, 53 (27.32%) signed up to use the program. While the program attracted a representative portion of underrepresented minority students, program engagement among males was particularly low. Repeated use of the program was low. Self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety were low at baseline, and continued to be low at end of program. Slight increases were observed from baseline to end of program in the self-reported use of cognitive coping skills. Conclusions: Digital mental health tools appear to be of interest to first year medical students, but need to be better designed to support continued program use and to attract specific subgroups of students who may face additional barriers to seeking mental health services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100279
JournalInternet Interventions
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Internet-delivered
  • Medical students
  • Open trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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