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Feasibility of a Group Telepsychological Intervention for Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis

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Project CF Teen was designed to address the gap in specialized mental health care available to youth with cystic fibrosis (CF), providing care through group telepsychology. Six youth completed a modified version of the Child Illness and Resilience Program, a group-based cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention for youth with chronic illnesses. Measures were administered before and after the intervention to assess changes in mental health and health care utilization, as well as the feasibility of the intervention and treatment satisfaction. This intervention was associated with improved access to specialized pediatric psychological services, time and cost savings, and treatment satisfaction. While no changes in mental health were detected, participants’ physical activity decreased over the course of the intervention; a possible explanation for this finding may be related to the timing of the intervention over the summer. In addition to these findings supporting group telepsychology for youth with CF, various challenges were encountered throughout the intervention. This led to important lessons learned, including flexibility and planning ahead for time demands. Future directions have also been identified, including with respect to reimbursement and additional settings in which to facilitate similar interventions.

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This research was supported by an internal grant from the Department of Pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Author information

Correspondence to Kristin Kroll.

Ethics declarations

The institutional review board (IRB) of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin declared this study exempt from review due to its principal designation as a quality improvement project given its main purpose of tailoring an evidence-based treatment intervention specifically to patients within the CHW Cystic Fibrosis Clinic. To ensure the safety of patients, patients were prevented from engaging in Project CT Teen and instead offered individual face-to-face psychotherapy if they had been diagnosed with an intellectual disability, had limited receptive or expressive English capabilities, had attempted suicide or homicide within the past year, had been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons within the past year, or endorsed current suicidal or homicidal ideation. All patients and parents who participated in this project completed an informed consent specific to telepsychotherapy that emphasized both the risks and benefits of engaging in this type of intervention, as well as informed consent for general mental health treatment.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states there is no conflict of interest.

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Kroll, K., Antos, N., Grace, M. et al. Feasibility of a Group Telepsychological Intervention for Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis. J. technol. behav. sci. 5, 47–50 (2020).

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  • Telepsychology
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Group therapy
  • Pediatric psychology