The effectiveness of unsupervised online CBT in reducing symptoms of PCBD, depression, and PTSD for people bereaved during the Covid-19-pandemic
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Introduction: The Covid-19 pandemic has caused more people to experience the loss of a loved one. Furthermore, because of the increase in unnatural deaths there are more people that experience the loss of a loved one as a traumatic loss. A traumatic loss increases the chance of developing Persistent complex bereavement disorder (PCBD), depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The aim of the current study is to evaluate the effectiveness of unsupervised online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in reducing symptoms of PCBD, depression, and PTSD for people bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic. Method: The current study is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) consisting of an intervention group (n = 19) and a waitlist-control group (n = 32). Participants (N = 52) had lost a family member, friend, or spouse during the Covid-19 pandemic and reported clinically relevant levels of PCBD, depression and/or PTSD. The Traumatic Grief Inventory – Clinician Administered (TGI-CA), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5) were used to assess these clinically significant levels. Participants were assessed with a telephone interview before treatment or waiting period and after treatment or waiting period. Results: Results showed that unsupervised CBT is effective in reducing symptoms of PCBD (ηp2 = .240) and PTSD (ηp2 = .128), but no for reducing symptoms of depression, for people who were bereaved during the Covid-19 pandemic. Discussion: Unsupervised online CBT could become a cost-effective treatment that is used to help treat bereaved people with clinically significant levels of PCBD and/or PTSD.