A mixed-methods study using a nonclinical sample to measure feasibility of ostrich community : a web-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for individuals with debt and associated stress

Smail, D, Elison, S, Dubrow-Marshall, LJ ORCID: 0000-0003-4092-6599 and Thompson, C 2017, 'A mixed-methods study using a nonclinical sample to measure feasibility of ostrich community : a web-based cognitive behavioral therapy program for individuals with debt and associated stress' , JMIR Mental Health, 4 (2) .

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Abstract

Background: There are increasing concerns about the health and well-being of individuals facing financial troubles. For instance, in the United Kingdom, the relationship between debt and mental health difficulties is becoming more evident due to the economic downturn and welfare reform. Access to debt counseling services is limited and individuals may be reluctant to access services due to stigma. In addition, most of these services may not be appropriately resourced to address the psychological impact of debt. This study describes outcomes from an Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) program, Ostrich Community (OC), which was developed to provide support to those struggling with debt and associated psychological distress. Objective: The aim of this feasibility study was to assess the suitability and acceptability of the OC program in a nonclinical sample and examine mental health and well-being outcomes from using the program. Methods: A total of 15 participants (who were not suffering from severe financial difficulty) were assisted in working through the 8-week ICBT program. Participants rated usability and satisfaction with the program, and after completion 7 participants took part in a semistructured interview to provide further feedback. Before the first session and after the final session all participants completed questionnaires to measure well-being and levels of depression, stress, and anxiety and pre- and postscores were compared. Results: Satisfaction was high and themes emerging from the interviews indicate that the program has the potential to promote effective financial behaviors and improve financial and global psychosocial well-being. When postcompletion scores were compared with those taken before the program, significant improvements were identified on psychometric measures of well-being, stress, and anxiety. Conclusions: The OC program is the first ICBT program that targets poor mental health associated with financial difficulty. This feasibility study indicates that OC may be an effective intervention for increasing financial resilience, supporting individuals to become financially independent, and promoting positive financial and global well-being. Further work with individuals suffering from debt and associated emotional difficulties will help to examine clinical effectiveness more closely.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: JMIR Mental Health
Publisher: JMR Publications
ISSN: 2368-7959
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Catherine Thompson
Date Deposited: 09 May 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2017 16:22
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/42300

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