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Prof. Dr. Matthias Berking

Philipps-Universität Marburg

Psychologisches Institut

Gutenbergstr. 18

35032 Marburg

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Evaluation of an online-based transfer support following inpatient depression therapy (OTF-D)

Project leaders and coordination:

Prof. Dr. Matthias Berking,
Prof. Dr. Martin Hautzinger,
David Ebert


Inpatient depression therapy has been proven to be effective. In view of the high risk of relapse of depressive disorders, however, the task is to stabilise the initially achieved therapy successes in the long term and to counteract the occurrence of relapse and renewed recidivism.


We are currently developing an online-based transfer support intervention following inpatient therapy based on principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy (OTF-D). With the OTF-D, patients should be supported in transferring the treatment successes achieved in the protected space of inpatient therapy to their individual everyday lives. Signs of relapse should be detected early and relapses and the occurrence of renewed recidivism should be effectively counteracted.


In a multi-centre, three-armed prospective randomised-controlled study (K = 5; N = 522), the effects of OTF-D should be compared with those of an active control condition (content-unspecific, supportive internet chat) and those of post-inpatient routine care measures (TAU). The intervention conditions are examined in terms of the development of depressive symptoms, relapses, the occurrence of further recidivism and cost-effectiveness. To check assumed mechanisms of effect, throughout the duration of the treatment, high-frequency progression measurements will be continuously conducted. To clarify the implementation area of OTF-D, an evaluation takes place in the inpatient-relevant care setting in Germany of acute psychosomatics, psychosomatic rehabilitation and psychiatry.


OTF-D is, to the best of our knowledge, the first disorder-specific step-down intervention following inpatient depression therapy worldwide which is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy. It is expected that an intervention which can be integrated into routine care can be developed with which the sustainability of inpatient depression therapy can be effectively and efficiently increased.

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