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Technology-Assisted, Group-Based CBT for Rural Adults' Depression: Open Pilot Trial Results.

Weaver A, Zhang A, Landry C, Hahn J, McQuown L, O'Donnell LA, Harrington MM, Buys T, Tucker KM, Pfeiffer P, Kilbourne AM, Grogan-Kaylor A, Himle JA. Technology-Assisted, Group-Based CBT for Rural Adults' Depression: Open Pilot Trial Results. Research on social work practice. 2022 Feb 1; 32(2):131-145.

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PURPOSE: This pilot study assesses the association of Raising Our Spirits Together (ROST), a technology-assisted, group-based cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, with rural adults' depressive symptoms and anxiety. METHOD: Nine adults from rural Michigan participated in an open pilot of ROST. Clergy facilitated pilot groups. The pilot began in February 2020 in-person. Due to COVID-19, the pilot was completed virtually. RESULTS: Mean depressive symptom scores, based on the PHQ-9, significantly decreased from pre-treatment ( = 14.4) to post-treatment ( = 6.33; t (8) = 6.79; < .001). Symptom reduction was maintained at 3-month follow-up ( = 8.00), with a significant pattern of difference in depressive symptoms over time (F(2) = 17.7; < .001; eta-squared = .689). Similar patterns occurred for anxiety based on the GAD-7. Participants attended an average of 7.33 of 8 sessions. Fidelity ratings were excellent. DISCUSSION: ROST is a potentially feasible intervention for rural adults' depressive symptoms. ROST offers a promising model for increasing treatment access and building capacity in rural areas.

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