Video-based cognitive-behavioral intervention for COVID-19 anxiety: a randomized controlled trial


Trends Psychiatry Psychother.




Abstract Objective Cognitive-behavioral interventions can be effective for relieving anxiety associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but complications such as social distancing, quarantine, a shortage of experts, and delayed care provisions have made it difficult to access face-to-face therapeutic interventions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of a video-based cognitive-behavioral intervention for reducing COVID-19 anxiety. Method In the present randomized controlled trial, 150 college students with severe COVID-19 anxiety were randomly assigned to either an intervention (n = 75) or a waiting list control (n = 75) group. The intervention group participated in a video-based cognitive-behavioral program consisting of nine 15-20-minute sessions (three days a week for three weeks). Dependent measures included the COVID-19 Anxiety Questionnaire, Short Health Anxiety Inventory, Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3, Somatosensory Amplification Scale, Experience of Parasocial Interaction Scale, and Source Credibility Scale. Results Participants who were randomly assigned to the cognitive-behavioral program reported high parasocial interaction, source credibility, and satisfaction with the intervention. Eighty percent reported that the video-based intervention was a beneficial alternative to traditional face-to-face therapeutic intervention. At post-treatment evaluation, the video-based cognitive-behavioral intervention group showed a significant reduction in COVID-19 anxiety, health anxiety, anxiety sensitivity, and somatosensory amplification when compared to the wait-listed control group. Conclusions This study suggests that video-based cognitive-behavioral interventions can be an affordable, feasible, and effective method to reduce anxiety during a large-scale pandemic.

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