Evaluating a hybrid web-based training program for panic disorder and agoraphobia: Randomized controlled trial

Lara Ebenfeld*, Dirk Lehr, David Daniel Ebert, Stefan Kleine Stegemann, Heleen Riper, Burkhardt Funk, Matthias Berking

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Previous studies provide evidence for the effectiveness of web-based interventions for panic disorder with and without agoraphobia. Smartphone-based technologies hold significant potential for further enhancing the accessibility and efficacy of such interventions. Objective: This randomized controlled trial aims to evaluate the efficacy of a guided, hybrid web-based training program based on cognitive behavioral therapy for adults with symptoms of panic disorder. Methods: Participants (N=92) with total scores in the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale ranging from 9 to 28 were recruited from the general population and allocated either to a hybrid intervention (GET.ON Panic) or to a wait-list control group. The primary outcome was the reduction in panic symptoms, as self-assessed using a web-based version of the Panic and Agoraphobia Scale. Results: Analysis of covariance-based intention-to-treat analyses revealed a significantly stronger decrease in panic symptoms posttreatment (F=9.77; P=.002; Cohen d=0.66; 95% CI 0.24-1.08) in the intervention group than in the wait-list control group. Comparisons between groups of the follow-up measures at 3 and 6 months yielded even stronger effects (3-month follow-up: F=17.40, P<.001, Cohen d=0.89, 95% CI 0.46-1.31; 6-month follow-up: F=14.63, P<.001, Cohen d=0.81, 95% CI 0.38-1.24). Conclusions: Hybrid web-based training programs may help reduce the symptoms of panic disorder and hence play an important role in improving health care for patients with this debilitating disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20829
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Cite this