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(BMJ): Researchers have recently compared the treatment effect of regular treatment versus participating in the computer-controlled self-help program SPARX. The results showed that the self-help program had as great an effect in reducing depressive symptoms as ordinary treatment. 

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The article therefore concludes that SPARX is a potential alternative that can be offered to young people with symptoms of depression. The results are important in terms of how society can meet an ever-increasing need for treatment of depression.

The abstract of the paper highlights:

94 participants were allocated to SPARX (mean age 15.6 years, 62.8% female) and 93 to treatment as usual (mean age 15.6 years, 68.8% female). 170 adolescents (91%, SPARX n = 85, treatment as usual n = 85) were assessed after intervention and 168 (90%, SPARX n = 83, treatment as usual n = 85) were assessed at the three month follow-up point.

Per protocol analyses (n = 143) showed that SPARX was not inferior to treatment as usual.

Thus, the paper concludes:

SPARX is a potential alternative to usual care for adolescents presenting with depressive symptoms in primary care settings and could be used to address some of the unmet demand for treatment.




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