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LIVIA-FR: An online unguided self-help intervention for people struggling with interpersonal loss

English title LIVIA-FR: An online unguided self-help intervention for people struggling with interpersonal loss
Applicant Debrot Anik
Number 182840
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Research center in vocational psychology and Institut de psychologie Université de Lausanne
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.02.2019 - 31.01.2023
Approved amount 407'755.00
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Keywords (6)

resources; adherence; online intervention; positive psychology; grief; interpersonal loss

Lay Summary (French)

Perdre un proche, par séparation ou décès est un des évènements les plus stressants que l’on puisse vivre et une partie des personnes atteintes vit une détresse importante. Peu d’entre elles trouvent un soutien adéquat, que ça soit par manque d’informations, de temps, d’argent ou d’offre thérapeutique. Les thérapies par internet sont en plein essor. On sait qu’elles sont autant efficaces que les thérapies face-à-face. Brodbeck, Berger et Znoj (Université de Berne), ont démontré l’efficacité de leur intervention en ligne pour les personnes peinant à gérer la perte d’un être cher, en offrant une guidance hebdomadaire par e-mail. Les thérapies en ligne non-guidées sont moins coûteuses et peuvent être offertes à une population plus large. Néanmoins, elles sont généralement moins efficaces que les thérapies guidées. Cependant, on peut augmenter leur efficacité par différents moyens.
Lay summary

Le présent projet vise à développer une intervention en ligne francophone non-guidé pour personnes ayant perdu un proche. Il implémentera des changements par rapport programme de Berne pour augmenter son efficacité en application non-guidée : a) structurer le programme en fonction des tâches du deuil et mesurer l’avancement dans ces tâches, b) laisser le choix dans l’ordre des séances, c) promouvoir des relations de qualité, d) promouvoir les ressources personnelles et activités positives, e) e-mails automatiques de rappel et soutien et f) un forum en ligne pour promouvoir les échanges entre participants. Le but est de diminuer les symptômes de deuil et augmenter le bien-être personnel et relationnel des participants.

Ceci avancera les connaissances sur les interventions en ligne non-guidées. De plus, ces dernières manquant cruellement en français, ceci permettra d’étoffer l’offre francophone.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.10.2018

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Project partner


Losing a close relative, either by death or by separation, is common but counts among the major stressful life events possible. A significant part of people (10-15%) experience substantial and persistent distress after such a loss. Meta-analyses indicate that supporting them with interventions is efficient. Recently, internet-based interventions (IBIs) were developed to support grieving individuals and have shown promising results. The best results of the latter were attained with guided IBIs. In particular, our partners Brodbeck, Berger and Znoj (2017) obtained very good results with a cognitive-behaviorally oriented IBI. Two unguided IBIs have addressed grief-related difficulties. They were efficient, but to a lesser degree than guided interventions. This might not only be due to the lack of guidance, but rather because these interventions were restricted in psychotherapeutical tasks and goals. Unguided interventions have the clear advantage of being more cost-effective, because once developed, they can be applied very broadly with limited resources. Thus, the present research project aims at developing an unguided IBI, based on empirically validated tools for promoting mental health restoration and preventing deleterious effects of prolonged grief in vulnerable people after the loss of a close relative. More specifically, we aim to compare Brodbeck and colleagues’ IBI (but without guidance; LIVIA-FR-I) to a new unguided IBI that we will develop (LIVIA-FR-II). It will comprise the following modifications to fill in the actual lacks in unguided IBIs: (a) Accomplishing tasks or exercises carefully reported in agendas or goal attainment scales and coherent regarding the current grief models. (b) Letting participants choose their own way through the program. (c) Fostering activities that promote nurturing relationships and positive interpersonal proximity. (d) Resource-oriented activities inspired by clinical positive psychology. (e) Automated e-mails. (f) A forum platform for exchanges between participants. These modifications target specific basic psychological needs that have shown high relevance in psychotherapeutical context.Participants will be adults of 20 years or more who have lost a close relative at least four months ago and who subjectively struggle and suffer from this. We will randomly allocate them to two treatment conditions: LIVIA-FR-I or LIVIA-FR-II. We will measure results on both distress and well-being scales at post-intervention and six-month follow-up. Moreover, we will explore whether the effects on physical health (general health and sleep quality) and social integration measures, and whether attachment style, previous relationship quality and attitude towards touch moderate the efficacy. The project-including the preparation and online implementation of LIVIA-FR-II, the data collection, the data analyses and publications-will last four years, with a possible extension to apply the design to other mental disorders. It will enable to advance knowledge on unguided IBIs and hopefully show that their effectiveness can be significantly improved. Additionally, there is a dramatic lack in French empirically validated IBIs. As French is a widely spoken language, the potential further application of such IBIs is broad and the consequential benefits for public health important.