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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 790457, 11 pages
Research Article

Participating in Online Mental Health Interventions: Who Is Most Likely to Sign Up and Why?

1Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
2Centre for Applied Psychology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia

Received 12 December 2013; Revised 23 February 2014; Accepted 11 March 2014; Published 2 April 2014

Academic Editor: Frans G. Zitman

Copyright © 2014 Dimity A. Crisp and Kathleen M. Griffiths. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Internet-based interventions are increasingly recognized as effective in the treatment and prevention of mental disorders. However, little research has investigated who is most likely to participate in intervention trials. This study examined the characteristics of individuals interested in participating in an online intervention to improve emotional well-being and prevent or reduce the symptoms of depression, factors reported to encourage or discourage participation, and preferences for different intervention types. The study comprised 4761 Australians participating in a survey on emotional health. Comparisons are made between those who expressed an interest in participating in the trial and those who were not. Compared to those who declined to participate, interested participants were more likely older, females, separated/divorced, and highly educated, have reported current or past history of depression, report higher depressive symptoms, and have low personal stigma. Despite the flexibility of online interventions, finding time to participate was the major barrier to engagement. Financial compensation was the most commonly suggested strategy for encouraging participation. An increased understanding of factors associated with nonparticipation may inform the design of future e-mental health intervention trials. Importantly, consideration needs to be given to the competing time pressures of potential participants, in balance with the desired study design.