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An evaluation of the suitability, readability, and quality of online resources for the self-management of depression.


To evaluate online depression self-management (SM) resources based on their readability, suitability, and quality to determine their appropriateness for use by patients. A Google search using patients' most frequently searched terms was conducted. Resources were evaluated using readability indices, the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM), and the DISCERN tool. The number of SM skills and other contributing factors (e.g., resource format) were also evaluated. The mean readability score across the sample was grade 10 (SD 1.5, range 8-14) and 22.2% of resources (n = 6) met the criteria for superior suitability. The mean sample scores were 58.8% (SD 11.6, range 36%-81%) for the DISCERN and 4.4 for SM skills (SD 1.6, range 2-8). SAM and DISCERN scores were found to be significantly correlated (Pearson correlation-coefficient 0.70). A cluster analysis of SAM and DISCERN scores suggested two groups that were significantly different (t-test, P <  0.001): 8 resources in a "high quality" cluster and 19 resources in a "medium/low" quality cluster. Eight publicly available online resources scored highly. However, the readability of all the resources evaluated exceeded recommended levels. Resources that are accessible to people with lower literacy levels and increased user-friendliness are needed. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.