Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Negative effects of self-help materials: three explorative studies

  • Mark Papworth (a1), Aileen Ward (a2) and Karen Leeson (a3)
Abstract

Within the field of adult mental health, self-help is now a pivotal treatment modality. However, earlier research indicates that some individuals react negatively to this. Through three, small-scale studies, this paper explores both clinicians’ experience of harm in patients as a response to self-help materials as well as patients’ own reports. In Study 1, a postal survey was administrated to clinicians; in Study 2, semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinicians; and in Study 3, patients were sent a postal survey. Over 18% of clinicians indicated that they had experienced self-help materials resulting in harm to patients. The interviews uncovered four main themes: the patients’ clinical presentation, how the materials were presented within the therapeutic contact, certain personality characteristics in patients, and the characteristics of some materials. Between 12% and 24% of patients reported experience of negative effects (depending upon how this is defined), although the latter finding is limited by a small sample size. Proposals are made that are linked to best practice and it is suggested that there is a generic training need for clinicians in materials’ use.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr M. Papworth, School of Psychology, Newcastle University, 4th Floor, Ridley Building, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK (email: mark.papworth@ncl.ac.uk).
References
Hide All
Papworth, M (2006). Issues and outcomes associated with adult mental health self-help materials: a ‘second-order’ review or ‘qualitative meta-review’. Journal of Mental Health 15, 123.
Papworth, M, Marrinan, T, Martin, B, Keegan, D, Chaddock, A (2013). Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. London: Sage.
Adams, SJ, Pitre, NL (2000). Who uses bibliotherapy and why? A survey from an underserviced area. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 45, 645–9.
Anderson, L, Lewis, G, Araya, R, Elgie, R, Harrison, G, Proudfoot, J, Scmidt, U, Sharp, D, Weightman, A & Williams, C (2005). Self-help books for depression: how can practitioners and clients make the right choice? British Journal of General Practice 55, 387392.
Barrera, M, Rosen, GM, Glasgow, RE (1981). Rights, risks, and responsibilities in the use of self-help psychotherapy. In: Preservation of Client Rights (ed. Hannah, G. T., Christian, W. P., Clark, H. P.), pp. 204220. New York: Free Press.
Beauchamp, TL, Childress, JF (2012). Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bennett-Levy, J, Richards, D, Farrand, P (2010). Low intensity CBT interventions: a revolution in mental health care. In: Oxford Guide to Low Intensity CBT Interventions (ed. Bennett-Levy, J., Richards, D. A., Farrand, P., Christensen, H., Griffiths, K. M., Kavanagh, D. J., Klein, B., Lau, M. A., Proudfoot, J., Ritterband, L., White, J. & Williams, C.), pp. 318. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Braun, V, Clarke, V (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology 3, 77101.
Clark, DM, Layard, R, Smithies, R, Richards, DA, Suckling, R, Wright, B (2009). Improving access to psychological therapy: initial evaluation of two UK demonstration sites. Behaviour Research and Therapy 47, 910920.
Coull, G, Morris, PG (2011). The clinical effectiveness of CBT-based guided self-help interventions for anxiety and depressive disorders: a systematic review. Psychological Medicine 41, 22392252.
Cuijpers, P (1997). Bibliotherapy in unipolar depression: a meta-analysis. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 28, 139147.
Curran-Everitt, D, Benos, DJ (2004). Guidelines for reporting statistics in journals published by the American Physiological Society. Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology 287, 307309.
Gellatly, J, Bower, P, Hennessy, S, Richards, D, Gilbody, S, Lovell, K (2007). What makes self-help interventions effective in the management of depressive symptoms? Meta-analysis and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine 37, 12171228.
Glasgow, RE, Rosen, GM (1978). Behavioral bibliotherapy: a review of self-help behavior therapy manuals. Psychological Bulletin 85, 123.
Glasgow, RE, Rosen, GM (1979). Self-help behaviour therapy manuals: recent developments and clinical usage. Clinical Behavior Therapy Review 1, 120.
Halliday, G (1991). Psychological self-help books – how dangerous are they? Psychotherapy 28, 678686.
Hirai, M, Clum, GA (2006). A meta-analytic study of self-help interventions for anxiety disorders. Behavior Therapy 37, 99111
Holland, JL (1985). Professional Manual for the Self-directed Search, 3rd edn). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
IAPT (2015). Guide to evaluating self-help guidance materials for anxiety disorders and depression. Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (www.ucl.ac.uk/pwp-review/docs/PWPREVIEW-selfhelp). Accessed 31 July 2015.
Lambert, MJ (2005). Early response to psychotherapy: Further evidence for the importance of common factors rather than ‘placebo effects’. Journal of Clinical Psychology 61, 855869.
Leahy, RL, Holland, SJ, McGinn, LK (2012). Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, 2nd edn. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Lewis, C, Pearce, J, Bisson, JI (2012). Efficacy, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of self-help interventions for anxiety disorders: systematic review. British Journal of Psychiatry 200, 1521.
Martinez, R, Whitfield, G, Dafters, R, Williams, C (2008). Can people read self-help manuals for depression? A challenge for the stepped care model and book prescription schemes. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 36, 8997.
Michie, S, Atkins, L, West, R (2014). The Behaviour Change Wheel: A Guide to Designing Interventions. London: Silverback Publishing.
Mohr, DC, Beutler, LE, Engle, D, Sholam-Salomon, V, Bergan, J, Kaszniak, AW, Yost, E (1990). Identification of patients at risk for nonresponse and negative outcome in psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 58, 622628.
Nowicki, S, Duke, MP (1974). A locus of control scale for non-college as well as college adults. Journal of Personality Assessment 38, 136137.
Papworth, M (2006). Issues and outcomes associated with adult mental health self-help materials: a ‘second-order’ review or ‘qualitative meta-review’. Journal of Mental Health 15, 123.
Papworth, M, Marrinan, T, Martin, B, Keegan, D, Chaddock, A (2013). Low Intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. London: Sage.
Richards, D, Suckling, R (2007). Doncaster Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Demonstration Site: Annual Report. York: University of York.
Richards, D, Whyte, M (2011). Reach Out: National Programme Student Materials to Support the Delivery of Training for Practitioners Delivering Low Intensity Interventions, 3rd edn. London: Rethink.
Schallow, JR (1975). Locus of control and success at self-modification. Behavior Therapy 6, 667671.
Scogin, FR, Floyd, M, Jamison, C, Ackerson, J, Landreville, P, Bissonnette, L (1996). Negative outcomes: What is the evidence on self-administered treatments? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 57, 665667.
Starker, S (1988). Psychologists and self-help books: attitudes and prescriptive practices of clinicians. American Journal of Psychotherapy 17, 4484–55.
van Boeijen, CA, van Balkom, AJ, van Oppen, P, Blankenstein, N, Cherpanath, A, van Dyck, R (2005). Efficacy of self-help manuals for anxiety disorders in primary care: a systematic review. Family Practice 22, 192196.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

the Cognitive Behaviour Therapist
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1754-470X
  • URL: /core/journals/the-cognitive-behaviour-therapist
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed