Randomized controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of a web-based stress management program among community college students

Patricia Frazier, Liza Meredith, Christiaan Greer, Jacob A. Paulsen, Kelli Howard, Lindsey R. Dietz, Kevin Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and Objectives: This study evaluated the effectiveness of a web-based stress management program among community college students that focused on increasing perceived control over stressful events. Design: Students (N = 257) were randomly assigned to a Present Control Intervention or a Stress-information only comparison group. Methods: Primary outcomes were perceived stress and stress symptoms; secondary outcomes were depression and anxiety. Self-report measures were completed online at preintervention, postintervention, and three-week follow-up. Intervention effects were estimated using linear mixed models. Seventy-five percent of the sample (n = 194) completed the pretest and comprised the intent-to-treat sample. Results: Participants in the intervention group reported significant increases in present control, and significant decreases in all four primary and secondary outcome measures from baseline to postintervention and follow-up. Within-group effect sizes were small to medium at postintervention (mean d = –.34) and follow-up (mean d = –.49). The mean between-group effect size on the four outcome measures was d =.35 at postintervention but d =.12 at follow-up, due to unexpected decreases in distress in the comparison group. Conclusions: Our online program is a cost-effective mental health program for college students. Limitations and future direction are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-586
Number of pages11
JournalAnxiety, Stress and Coping
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015

Keywords

  • college students
  • community college
  • emotional distress
  • online intervention
  • perceived control
  • stress management

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