Introduction: Excessive internet use can lead to problems for some individuals. The WHO has introduced Gaming Disorder in the International Classification of Diseases-11 (ICD-11). Previous research has shown that other internet applications can cause serious mental health problems as well. It is important to provide measures of prevention, early intervention and therapy for internet use disorders (IUDs).
Methods and analysis: The study ‘Stepped Care Approach for Problematic Internet use Treatment’ is a randomised, two-arm, parallel-group, observer-blind trial. The aim of the study is to investigate if a stepped care approach is effective to reduce symptom severity for IUD. The sample is primarily recruited online with a focus on employees in companies with support of health insurances. After screening, the stepped care approach depends on the success of the previous step-that is, the successful reduction of criteria-and comprise: (1) app-intervention with questionnaires and feedback, (2) two telephone counsellings (duration: 50 min) based on motivational interviewing, (3) online therapy over 17 weeks (15 weekly group sessions, eight individual sessions) based on cognitive-behavioural therapy. A follow-up is conducted after 6 months. A total of 860 participants will be randomised. Hierarchical testing procedure is used to test the coprimary endpoints number of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition and ICD-11 criteria. Primary analysis will be performed with a sequential logit model.
Further information can be found here:
Bischof, A., …, Borgwardt, S., …, & Rumpf, H. J. (2022). Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial of an e-health stepped care approach for the treatment of internet use disorders versus a placebo condition: the SCAPIT study. BMJ open, 12(11), e061453. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2022-061453