An online CBT-based life skills course for the farming community: a feasibility study

Bowyer, Harriet Louise (2017) An online CBT-based life skills course for the farming community: a feasibility study. D Clin Psy thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background: Research indicates that male farmers have higher levels of depression than non-farmers and that offering mental health support online may overcome several barriers to help-seeking in farmers. This study investigated the feasibility of delivering a computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) based course to farmers.
Methods: Farmers with depressive symptoms in the normal to moderate range were recruited using adverts into a single-arm feasibility study. Participants were given access to a cCBT-based course consisting of 5 core modules and weekly automated and personalised email support. Self-reported depression, anxiety, and social functioning were measured at baseline and 8-week follow-up. Telephone interviews explored participant use of and satisfaction with the course and were analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: 56 participants were recruited, with 48% recruited using social media. In total, 35 (63%) participants logged onto the course and 15 (27%) completed follow-up measures. Of those who logged on, only 14% (n = 5/35) completed all core modules. Most participants had no or minimal depressive symptoms (71%); 67% had at least mild anxiety; and 54% had mild to moderate functional impairment. Qualitative interviews (n = 8) indicated that farmers may not help-seek due to heavy workloads and mental health stigma within the farming community. Participants therefore thought online support was helpful because it was convenient and anonymous. There were concerns that older people and those with limited internet connection may have difficulty accessing the course. Suggestions regarding the layout and content of the course were provided. Exploratory analyses showed a significant reduction in anxiety over time (p< .05); no significant change in depression or in functioning was observed.
Conclusions: Online courses may be effective and convenient ways of offering mental health support to some in the farming community. Difficulties in recruiting and retaining farmers may indicate that cCBT may need to be modified further to engage farmers better with short stand-alone modules and the ability to download content for reading offline.

Item Type: Thesis (D Clin Psy)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: cCBT, CBT, farmer, depression.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Supervisor's Name: Williams, Professor Chris
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Dr Harriet Louise Bowyer
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8402
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 14:47
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2017 11:37

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