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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170-178

“Doing What Matters in Times of Stress” to Decrease Psychological Distress During COVID-19: A Randomised Controlled Pilot Trial

1 Department of Psychology, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey
2 Trauma and Disaster Mental Health, Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey
3 WHO Country Office Turkey, Ankara, Turkey

Correspondence Address:
PhD Ceren Acarturk
Department of Psychology, Koc University, Istanbul
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/intv.intv_29_21

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Despite the increasing psychological distress during COVID-19, utilisation of face-to-face psychological interventions decreased profoundly. The aim of this study involving two parallel, two-armed pilot randomised controlled trials was to examine the effectiveness of a guided self-help intervention “Doing What Matters in Times of Stress” (DWM) in decreasing psychological distress in Turkish and Syrian participants. Seventy-four Turkish nationals and 50 Syrian refugee adults with psychological distress were randomly allocated to a DWM group or wait-list control group. The primary outcome measure was the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 postintervention. Secondary outcome measures were the Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Checklist for DSM-5, Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale and Acceptance and Action Questionnaire-II postintervention. Although this study was not powered to detect a significant effect for DWM postassessment between DWM and the control group, results showed a significant improvement in depression symptoms among Turkish participants in the DWM group (d = 0.46) and in PTSD symptoms among Syrian participants in the DWM group (d = 0.67) from pre- to postintervention assessment. These results indicate the potential of DWM to decrease mental health problems during the pandemic and importance of a fully powered, definitive controlled trial to examine its effectiveness both for the host community and refugees to reduce psychological distress during COVID-19.

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