A blended module (STAIRS) to promote functional and personal recovery in patients with a major depressive disorder in remission: study protocol of a concurrent mixed methods randomized controlled trial

David Wedema, Klaas J Wardenaar, Manna A Alma, Antoinette D I van Asselt, E.L. Korevaar, Robert A Schoevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of a wide variety of evidence-based treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD), many patients still experience impairments in their lives after remission. Programs are needed that effectively support patients in coping with these impairments. The program Storytelling and Training to Advance Individual Recovery Skills (STAIRS) was developed to address this need and combines the use of peer contact, expert-by-experience guidance, family support and professional blended care. The aim of the planned study is (1) to assess the efficacy of the STAIRS program in patients with remitted MDD, (2) to investigate patients' subjective experiences with STAIRS, and (3) to evaluate the program's cost-effectiveness.

METHODS: A concurrent mixed-methods randomized controlled trial design will be used. Patients aged between 18 and 65 years with remitted MDD (N = 140) will be randomized to either a group receiving care as usual (CAU) + the STAIRS-program or a control group receiving CAU + some basic psychoeducation. Quantitative efficacy data on functional and personal recovery and associated aspects will be collected using self-report questionnaires at the start of the intervention, immediately following the intervention, and at the six-month follow-up. Insights into patients' experiences on perceived effects and the way in which different program elements contribute to this effect, as well as the usability and acceptability of the program, will be gained by conducting qualitative interviews with patients from the experimental group, who are selected using maximum variation sampling. Finally, data on healthcare resource use, productivity loss and quality of life will be collected and analysed to assess the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of the STAIRS-program.

DISCUSSION: Well-designed recovery-oriented programs for patients suffering from MDD are scarce. If efficacy and cost-effectiveness are demonstrated with this study and patients experience the STAIRS program as usable and acceptable, this program can be a valuable addition to CAU. The qualitative interviews may give insights into what works for whom, which can be used to promote implementation.

Translated title of the contributionEen blended training (STAIRS) waarmee functioneel en persoonlijk herstel bij patiënten met een depressieve stoornis in remissie wordt bevorderd: studie protocol van een mixed methods randomized controlled trial
Original languageEnglish
Article number727
JournalBMC Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2023


  • recovery oriented interventions
  • depression
  • experiential expertise

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