Psychological treatment of depression: Results of a series of meta-analyses

Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, and EMGO Institute, The Netherlands.
Nordic journal of psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.5). 07/2011; 65(6):354-64. DOI: 10.3109/08039488.2011.596570
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In the past few decades, a considerable number of studies have examined the effects of psychotherapies for adult depression.
We described the results of a series of meta-analyses examining what this large body of research has contributed to our knowledge of these treatments of depression.
We found that different types of psychotherapy are efficacious in the treatment of adult depression, including cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, problem-solving therapy, non-directive supportive therapy and behavioral activation therapy. Differences between types of psychotherapy are small. The efficacy of psychotherapy for mild to moderate depression is about the same as the efficacy of pharmacotherapy, and that combined treatment is more effective than psychotherapy alone and pharmacotherapy alone. Psychotherapy is not only effective in depressed adults in general, but also in older adults, women with postpartum depression, patients with general medical disorders, in inpatients, in primary care patients, patients with chronic depression and in subthreshold depression.
We found no evidence showing that psychotherapy is less efficacious in severe depression (with mean baseline Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores up to 31, mean Beck Depression Inventory scores up to 35.85 and mean Beck Depression Inventory-II scores up to 36.50), but effects are smaller in chronic depression. We also found that the effects of psychotherapy are probably overestimated because of publication bias and the relatively low quality of many studies in the field.

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Available from: Annemieke van Straten, Oct 29, 2014
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    • "One challenge for the field will be who, or what agency, should take responsibility for such an effort. Although there do exist some notable efforts to bring together psychotherapy research results for the purposes of meta-analyses (Cuijpers, Anderson, Donker, & van Straten, 2011; Cuijpers et al., 2011), it is likely the case that no single research group, professional organization, or even a nationlevel system can take on the responsibility to accumulate such data-bases, since the efforts must be interprofessional and international in scope. It may be possible that web-based technology can be developed, perhaps sponsored by an international health organization, such as the World Health Organization or a consortium of international research agencies, to form a repository of evidencebased psychotherapies. "
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    • "been well established (Cuijpers et al., 2011a, 2011b). Both have been found to be similarly effective in reducing depressive symptoms (Cuijpers et al., 2011a). However, less is known about who will benefit from therapy, and who will not. "
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    • "Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions have been shown in a multitude of studies to be an effective treatment for depression in adults and adolescents (Weisz et al. 2006; Calear & Christensen, 2010; Cuijpers et al. 2011). However, our knowledge of mechanisms that could explain this recovery is still limited (Kazdin, 2007; Lemmens et al. 2011). "
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