Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies that included media-based interventions (including books, manuals, audiotapes, videotapes, computer-assisted programs, the Internet, or some combination) with minimal therapist contact (defined as therapist-initiated, non-therapeutic contact by phone, letter, email, face-to-face, or some combination) were eligible for inclusion. Comparison groups included therapist- directed interventions (TDIs) and control groups such as no treatment, waiting list, placebo or symptom monitoring alone. Studies were excluded if they employed media-based materials but participants had no opportunity to practise using the materials; targeted specific anxiety, e.g. fear of undergoing surgery; targeted a broadly defined sample of neurotic disorders unless specifically targeted anxiety symptoms within the study sample; targeted various disorders of which anxiety disorder was only one; provided TDI prior to SH treatment phase; used SH materials as supplements to conventional therapy; or employed questionable psychometric measures, e.g. not using validated materials. The average duration of SH treatment was 6.2 weeks (range: 1 day to 25.8 weeks).
Participants included in the review
Studies of adults undergoing media-based interventions for the treatment of anxiety problems were eligible for inclusion. The participants in the included reviews were treated for social anxiety, acrophobia, test anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety and mixed anxiety disorders. The average age 30.8 years and women comprised 72.2% of the sample. The average duration of the disorder was 14.0 years. Further participant characteristics were not reported.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Outcomes that assessed target symptoms (unspecified) were eligible for inclusion.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.