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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Gathering Opinions on Depression Information Needs and Preferences: Samples and Opinions in Clinic Versus Web-Based Surveys
Source JMIR Publications; 4, 2, pp. 1-15
Year 2017
Access date 27.07.2017

Background: There has been limited research on the information needs and preferences of the public concerning treatment for depression. Very little research is available comparing samples and opinions when recruitment for surveys is done over the Web as opposed to a personal invitation to complete a paper survey.

Objective: This study aimed to (1) to explore information needs and preferences among members of the public and (2) compare Clinic and Web samples on sample characteristics and survey findings.

Methods: Web survey participants were recruited with a notice on three self-help association websites (N=280). Clinic survey participants were recruited by a research assistant in the waiting rooms of a family medicine clinic and a walk-in medical clinic (N=238) and completed a paper version of the survey.

Results: The Clinic and Web samples were similar in age (39.0 years, SD 13.9 vs 40.2 years, SD 12.5, respectively), education, and proportion in full time employment. The Clinic sample was more diverse in demographic characteristics and closer to the demographic characteristics of the region (Winnipeg, Canada) with a higher proportion of males (102/238 [42.9%] vs 45/280 [16.1%]) and nonwhites (Aboriginal, Asian, and black) (69/238 [29.0%] vs 39/280 [13.9%]). The Web sample reported a higher level of emotional distress and had more previous psychological (224/280 [80.0%] vs 83/238 [34.9%]) and pharmacological (202/280 [72.1%] vs 57/238 [23.9%]) treatment. In terms of opinions, most respondents in both settings saw information on a wide range of topics around depression treatment as very important including information about treatment choices, effectiveness of treatment, how long it takes treatment to work, how long treatment continues, what happens when treatment stops, advantages and disadvantages of treatments, and potential side effects. Females, respondents with a white background, and those who had received or felt they would have benefited from therapy in the past saw more information topics as very important. Those who had received or thought they would have benefited in the past from medication treatment saw fewer topics as important. Participants in both groups expressed an interest in receiving information through discussion with a counselor or a physician, through written brochures, or through a recommended website.

Conclusions: The recruitment strategies were helpful in obtaining opinions from members of the public with different concerns and perspectives, and the results from the two methods were complementary. Persons coping with emotional distress and individuals not specifically seeking help for depression would be interested in information to answer a wide range of important questions about depression treatment. The Clinic sample yielded more cultural diversity that is a closer match to the population. The Web sample was less costly to recruit and included persons who were most interested in receiving information.