Insight into user adherence to Web-based intervention programs and into its relationship to intervention effect is needed.
The objective of this study was to examine use of a Web-based self-help intervention program, the Chinese version of My Trauma Recovery (CMTR), among Chinese traumatized individuals, and to investigate the relationship between program use and user characteristics before the intervention and change in outcomes after the intervention and at 3-months' follow-up.
The sample consisted of 56 urban survivors of different trauma types and 90 rural survivors of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, who used the CMTR in 1 month on their own or guided by volunteers in a counseling center. Predictors were demographics (sex, age, highest education, marital status, and annual family income), health problems (trauma duration, posttraumatic symptoms, and depression), psychological factors (coping self-efficacy), and social factors (social functioning impairment and social support). Program use was assessed by general program usage (eg, number of visiting days) and program adherence (eg, webpages completed in modules). Outcome measures were the Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale (PDS), Symptom Checklist 90-Depression (SCL-D), Trauma Coping Self-Efficacy scale (CSE), Crisis Support Scale (CSS), and Social Functioning Impairment questionnaire (SFI) adopted from the CMTR.
(1) Program use: rural participants had a larger total number of visiting days (F1,144=40.50, P<.001) and visited more program modules in 1 month (χ(2)3=73.67, P<.001) than urban participants. (2) Predictors and program use: total number of visiting days was correlated with CSS at pretest (r=.22, P=.009), and total number of completed webpages was associated with SFI at pretest (r=.19, P=.02). Number of webpages completed in modules was correlated with all demographic, disease severity, psychological, and social factors at pretest. (3) Program use and outcomes change: in general, use of the triggers and self-talk modules showed a consistent positive association with improvement in PDS, SCL-D, SFI, and CSE. The relaxation module was associated with positive change in PDS, but with negative change in CSS and SFI. The professional help module was associated with positive change in SCL-D, but its use on the first day was associated with negative change in CSS and CSE. The unhelpful coping module was associated with negative change in SFI. The mastery tools module showed a consistent association with negative change in PDS and SCL-D.
These findings suggest that both individual (eg, demographic, health problems, psychological) and social factors (eg, social functioning, social support) should be considered when delivering Web-based interventions, particularly in collectivist cultures. Specific program adherence indicators (eg, webpages completed in each module, activity types completed), rather than general program usage indicators (eg, total number or time of visiting), should be developed to examine the effectiveness of various program modules or elements.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12611000951954; https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=343399 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6G7WyNODk).