Adjustment Disorder (AjD) represents a healthcare paradox. On the one hand, it is one of the most diagnosed mental disorders worldwide. On the other hand, AjD and its possible treatment options remain a severely neglected field of research. In this context, we developed a self-guided online intervention for adjustment problems, named ZIEL, and tested its efficacy. It is based on and extends a bibliotherapeutic treatment approach for symptoms of AjD. In our study, a total of 98 individuals who had experienced a life event in the last two years, were randomly assigned to care as usual (CAU) or an online intervention group (CAU + online intervention). The primary endpoint was AjD symptom severity measured by Adjustment Disorder–New Module 20 (ADNM-20). Secondary endpoints were depressive symptoms, quality of life and other variables such as satisfaction and usability. Both the intervention and the control group improved comparably well regarding the severity of adjustment disorder symptoms post-treatment. However, participants in the intervention group showed significantly fewer depressive symptoms and a significantly higher quality of life (Cohen’s d
: 0.89 (BDI) and −0.49 (SF-12)). The intervention was well-received by users with an above average usability rating. Overall, the results suggest that the ZIEL intervention has the promise to contribute to the treatment of AjD and reduce symptom burden by means of a scalable low-barrier approach.
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