‘Isolated together’: online group treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic. A systematic review

Submitted: June 14, 2022
Accepted: October 3, 2022
Published: November 4, 2022
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Considering the emerging need to face the negative impact of the pandemic on mental health, social support, and access to health services, it became a critical issue to adapt to online group settings and create new group interventions to face the developing distress during this time. The aim of the current study is to investigate the main findings on OPGI conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 until March 2022, with a particular focus on: i) the therapeutic group factors; ii) what kind of OPGI works and for whom; iii) settings and emerging dimensions. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, we performed a systematic review on scientific databases (PsychINFO, PubMed, Web of Science and EBSCO) searching for studies published between March 2020 and March 2022. ‘Group intervention’ or ‘group therapy’ or ‘group treatment’ crossed with ‘COVID-19’ and synonymous, were used as keywords. Internet based intervention was used as an eligibility criteria during the full-text screening. A total of 1326 articles were identified, of which 24 met the inclusion criteria. Among all studies, with different participants and different orientations, data extracted supported psychological online group interventions as an effective approach to reducing psychological distress and increasing psychological resources in the interpersonal field. Our findings also showed that COVID-19 has led to new needs and issues, that require the investigation of new dimensions for online psychological interventions. Methodological and clinical implications will be discussed through a descriptive table related to setting characteristics. Recommendations are made for future research.

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How to Cite

Margherita, G., Muzii, B., Caffieri, A., Di Francia, A., & Somma, B. (2022). ‘Isolated together’: online group treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic. A systematic review. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome, 25(3). https://doi.org/10.4081/ripppo.2022.639

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