Plain English Summary
Background and study aims:
University students make up a category of people who are particularly vulnerable to stress. They are prone to having stress-related issues such as anxiety, depression, eating problems, consumption of psychoactive substances, and sleep disorders. These rates are higher in terms of mental health problems than declared in the general population. Online application studies in this field are being developed to treat several problems, such as panic disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia, post traumatic stress, social phobia and behavioural problems. Stress management is one of the applications that has been suggested to help diverse population groups. The aim of this study is to test the efficiency of an online stress management program on university students.
Who can participate?
French university students aged between 18 and 30 who have access to the internet.
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated into one of the two groups. Those in the first group receive the online stress management program. Participants are invited to visit the website once a week and to spend at least 20 minutes on it for four weeks. They could visit the page for longer or more frequently if they wished. Those in the second groups continue as normal for the duration of the study. Participants in both groups complete a number of questionnaires to measure their stress levels and mental health at the start of the study and one week after the end of the program and after three months.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Participants may benefit from improvement in levels of self-esteem and perceived stress. There are no notable risks involved with participating.
Where is the study run from?
Université Paris Nanterre (France)
When is study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
November 2015 to June 2016
Who is funding the study?
Scientific Interest Group "Jeu et société" (France)
Who is the main contact?
Online stress management: An experimental study carried out on university students
This aim of this study is to investigate the efficiency of an online stress management program.
1. Ethics Committee of the Psychological Science and Learning Science department at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, UFR SPE (Department of Psychology and Education), 18/11/2014
2. CNIL (National commission of computing and freedom), 18/11/2014, ref: 1811031 v 0
Randomised controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Patient information sheet
Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Participants are randomised to one of two groups using SPSS random sample software.
Intervention group: Participants receive the "I’m managing my stress" program. This involves four sessions spread over one month, each 20 minutes long, including psycho-education, practical exercises and one to two weekly activities that the participant is asked to complete (prescription of tasks, as is customary in cognitive-behavioural techniques). The goal is for the students to learn easy techniques to help them face stressing situations in a better way.
Control group: Participants continue as usual and are given the opportunity to receive the intervention program after the study ends.
Participants in both groups complete a battery of questionnaires at baseline (pre-intervention), one week post-intervention and again after three months.
Primary outcome measure
1. Stress is assessed by the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS-10) at baseline, 1 week post-intervention and 3 months post-intervention
2. Self-esteem is measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) at baseline, 1 week post-intervention and 3 months post-intervention
3. Psychological distress is measured using the 28-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) at baseline, 1 week post-intervention and 3 months post-intervention
Secondary outcome measures
Satisfaction in studies is assessed using the 5-item version of (ESDE) at baseline, 1 week post-intervention and 3 months post-intervention.
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. French university students
2. Mastery of the French language
3. Aged between 18 and 30
4. Having an e-mail address and access to the Internet
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
Aged under 18 or over 30
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Université Paris Nanterre
200 Avenue de la République
Scientific Interest Group "Jeu et société"
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Planned publication in either PLOS One or BMC in Psychiatry.
IPD Sharing plan:
The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study during this study will be included in the subsequent results publication.
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Basic results (scientific)
2018 results in: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30183710