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Open Access Research article

Internet-based psychoeducation for bipolar disorder: a qualitative analysis of feasibility, acceptability and impact

Ria Poole1, Sharon A Simpson2 and Daniel J Smith3*

Author affiliations

1 Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Monmouth House, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4DW, UK

2 South East Wales Trials Unit, Institute of Translation, Innovation, Methodology and Engagement, Cardiff University School of Medicine, 7th floor Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS, UK

3 Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Academic Unit of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1055 Great Western Road, Glasgow, G12 0XH, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Psychiatry 2012, 12:139  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-12-139

Published: 13 September 2012

Abstract

Background

In a recent exploratory randomised trial we found that a novel, internet-based psychoeducation programme for bipolar disorder (Beating Bipolar) was relatively easy to deliver and had a modest effect on psychological quality of life. We sought to explore the experiences of participants with respect to feasibility, acceptability and impact of Beating Bipolar.

Methods

Participants were invited to take part in a semi-structured interview. Thematic analysis techniques were employed; to explore and describe participants’ experiences, the data were analysed for emerging themes which were identified and coded.

Results

The programme was feasible to deliver and acceptable to participants where they felt comfortable using a computer. It was found to impact upon insight into illness, health behaviour, personal routines and positive attitudes towards medication. Many participants regarded the programme as likely to be most beneficial for those recently diagnosed.

Conclusions

An online psychoeducation package for bipolar disorder, such as Beating Bipolar, is feasible and acceptable to patients, has a positive impact on self-management behaviours and may be particularly suited to early intervention. Alternative (non-internet) formats should also be made available to patients.

Keywords:
Bipolar disorder; Patient education; Internet; Feasibility; Patient experiences; Qualitative