Clients' Experiences With Internet-Based Psychological Treatments for Mental Disorders: Protocol for a Metasynthesis of Qualitative Studies

Javier Fernández-Álvarez, Amanda Díaz-García, Mª Dolores Vara, Guadalupe Molinari, Desirée Colombo, Giuseppe Riva, Rosa M Baños, Cristina Botella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Given the rise of internet-based treatments as an effective therapeutic tool for psychological disorders, it is necessary to carry out research that examines clients' experiences with this type of intervention. The qualitative methodology has been found to be useful for analyzing clients' perceptions in terms of facilitators and barriers, acceptability, and negative effects of internet-based treatments. However, a lack of integration of these primary studies has prevented their findings from being applied to new research and in clinical practice.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper is to describe the protocol for a metasynthesis of qualitative studies exploring the experiences of clients who underwent an internet-based treatment.

METHODS: Elliot and Timulak's metasynthesis approach will be used to review and synthesize qualitative studies related to client experiences in terms of the barriers and facilitators they perceived when undergoing internet-based treatment. For each search string, the features in the Sample, Phenomenon of Interest, Design, Evaluation, Research type (SPIDER) tool will be considered. Electronic databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science) will be searched. Two independent reviewers will analyze the material in order to determine whether the eligibility criteria are fulfilled. Findings will make it possible to create a hierarchy of domains in terms of their relevance across all the primary studies. The data obtained from primary studies will be cross-analyzed using descriptive and interpretative procedures.

RESULTS: The search strategy is currently being conducted. First results are expected to be submitted for publication in 2019.

CONCLUSIONS: We will develop conceptual framework of the barriers and facilitators perceived by clients and propose their implications and recommendations for clinical practice, research, and training.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42018079894; (Archived by WebCite at


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e183
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 21 2018

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