Using Artificial Intelligence to Predict Change in Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in a Digital Intervention: Evidence from A Transdiagnostic Randomized Controlled Trial


While digital psychiatric interventions reduce treatment barriers, not all persons benefit from this type of treatment. Research is needed to preemptively identify who is likely to benefit from these digital treatments in order to redirect those people to a higher level of care. The current manuscript used an ensemble of machine learning methods to predict changes in major depressive and generalized anxiety disorder symptoms from pre to 9-month follow-up in a randomized controlled trial of a transdiagnostic digital intervention based on participants’ (N=632) pre-treatment data. The results suggested that baseline characteristics could accurately predict changes in depressive symptoms in both treatment groups (r=0.482, 95% CI[0.394, 0.561]; r=0.477, 95% CI[0.385, 0.560]) and anxiety symptoms in both treatment groups (r=0.569, 95% CI[0.491, 0.638]; r=0.548, 95% CI[0.464, 0.622]). These results suggest that machine learning models are capable of preemptively predicting a person’s responsiveness to digital treatments, which would enable personalized decision-making about which persons should be directed towards standalone digital interventions or towards blended stepped-care.

Psychiatry Research