Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that compared computer-aided psychotherapy with contrast conditions or face-to-face psychotherapy in adults with anxiety disorders were eligible for inclusion. Studies that compared two active computer-aided psychotherapy conditions and studies with sub-clinical participants were excluded.
Included studies were of internet-based stand-alone computer, palm top or virtual reality computer psychotherapy in adults with panic/agoraphobia, social phobia, spider phobia, flight phobia, mixed phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The number of sessions ranged from one to 10. Contrast conditions were: face-to face therapy, including cognitive-behavioural or behavioural therapy; relaxation; waiting list control; book; information; and self-monitoring. In most studies, participants met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) or International Classification of Diseases (ICD) criteria. Most participants were recruited from community settings. Outcomes included in the review were anxiety, depression, quality of life and drop-out rates. A range of tools were used to measure outcomes. These were reported in full in another article (see OPRI), but not in the current review. Follow-up ranged from post-intervention to one year. The studies were carried out in Europe, USA and Australia.
The authors stated neither how studies were selected for the review nor how many reviewers performed the study selection.