Effectiveness of internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT) in reducing sickness absence among young employees with depressive symptoms (DAQI)

Objectives of DAQI

The DAQI research project investigates whether participating in the Helsinki University Hospital’s Mental Hub’s internet-delivered cognitive behaviour therapy (iCBT) for Depression can reduce sickness absence among young public sector employees who have depressive symptoms. The study also aims to find out whether iCBT could work as part of occupational health care. If iCBT for Depression shows to be an effective treatment, it can be used more widely, which would improve the capacity to deliver evidence-based mental health care to more patients. The DAQI project will provide internationally significant and novel evidence about the effects of iCBT to reduce sickness absence in young employees with depressive symptoms.

Implementation of DAQI

The DAQI project is carried out in the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Helsinki. The recruitment of participants takes place at Occupational Health Helsinki. The co-operation with Occupational Health Helsinki provides an opportunity to run the study in real-life conditions. This study design is called pragmatic trial and it aims to maximise the applicability and generalisability of the results. In addition to treatment intervention DAQI project includes long-term register-based follow-up.

The effectiveness of iCBT for Depression will be examined by comparing the control group and the intervention group to which participants are randomised. The participants of the study are 18–34-year-old employees of the City of Helsinki who present at the occupational health care with depressive symptoms. All the study participants will be offered the usual care for depression provided by the occupational health care, but in addition to care as usual, the intervention group participates in the iCBT for Depression.

Participation in the study is voluntary and all participants will be provided with extensive information about the purpose of the study and the data processing and storing procedures.  Participation or declining to participate will not have any kind of consequences for the client’s position in the health care system.  The DAQI project will not interfere anyone’s treatment or set any constraints regarding the range of treatments.

Confidentiality of DAQI

All information collected for the DAQI project remains confidential. The EU General Data Protection Regulation, Finnish data protection laws and the data protection guidelines of the University of Helsinki will be strictly followed while storing and processing the data. The researchers in the DAQI project are required to sign a confidentiality agreement and the confidential information will not be disclosed to third parties. DAQI is registered in ISRCTN (ISRCTN10877837).

Personal Data Processing Report in English (pdf)


This study was funded by the Academy of Finland (grant 315343).

Study protocol of DAQI

The study protocol of DAQI was published in November 2019. The study protocol is a scientific document that describes the study in detail.

Kouvonen A, Mänty M, Harkko J, Sumanen H, Konttinen H, Lahti J, Pietiläinen O, Blomgren J, Tuovinen E, Ketonen EL, Stenberg JH, Donelly M, Sivertsen B, Mittendorfer-Rutz E, Pirkola S, Rahkonen O, Lallukka T. Effectiveness of internet-delivered cognitive behavioural therapy in reducing sickness absence among young employees with depressive symptoms: study protocol for a large-scale pragmatic randomised controlled trial.
BMJ Open 2019;9:e032119. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/10/e032119.

Additional information

Director of the DAQI project, Professor Anne Kouvonen anne.kouvonen@helsinki.fi
University Researcher, Adjunct Professor Jouni Lahti jouni.mm.lahti@helsinki.fi