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Abstract

In this paper, we present results from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that examined the impact of persuasive reminders and virtual rehearsal on the effectiveness of a behavior-change support system (BCSS). We developed the Web-based BCSS to support people with mild to moderate depression without face-to-face therapy. We randomized eligible participants into two groups. Both groups rehearsed the target behavior virtually; however, only the first intervention group received email-based reminders. We applied a mixed-methods approach for the analysis. We collected data with semi-structured self-reported questionnaires and post-study interviews. Results indicate that the severity of depression was noticeably decreased and participants’ self-confidence to manage depressive thoughts was generally improved. The influence of persuasive reminders on task completion was less than we anticipated, while the participants felt that virtual rehearsal was an effective technique for learning new behaviors. We discuss possible reasons for the results at the end of the paper.

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