Behavioral activation treatments of depression: A meta-analysis

Department of Clinical Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Clinical Psychology Review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 05/2007; 27(3):318-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.11.001
Source: PubMed


Activity scheduling is a behavioral treatment of depression in which patients learn to monitor their mood and daily activities, and how to increase the number of pleasant activities and to increase positive interactions with their environment. We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized effect studies of activity scheduling. Sixteen studies with 780 subjects were included. The pooled effect size indicating the difference between intervention and control conditions at post-test was 0.87 (95% CI: 0.60 - 1.15). This is a large effect. Heterogeneity was low in all analyses. The comparisons with other psychological treatments at post-test resulted in a non-significant pooled effect size of 0.13 in favor of activity scheduling. In ten studies activity scheduling was compared to cognitive therapy, and the pooled effect size indicating the difference between these two types of treatment was 0.02. The changes from post-test to follow-up for activity scheduling were non-significant, indicating that the benefits of the treatments were retained at follow-up. The differences between activity scheduling and cognitive therapy at follow-up were also non-significant. Activity scheduling is an attractive treatment for depression, not only because it is relatively uncomplicated, time-efficient and does not require complex skills from patients or therapist, but also because this meta-analysis found clear indications that it is effective.

Download full-text


Available from: Pim Cuijpers,
  • Source
    • "Emotions are instantaneous and specific reactions to a particular event that are usually of fairly short duration. Emotion regulation describes how a subject can use specific strategies to affect the emotion response levels [16]. Emotion regulation becomes more important when emotional responses interfere with important goals, or when they compete with other, socially more adequate responses [17], [18]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this paper a cognitive model is introduced which integrates a model for emotion generation with models for three different emotion regulation strategies. Given a stressful situation, humans often apply multiple emotion regulation strategies. The presented computational model has been designed based on principles from recent neurological theories on brain imaging, and psychological and emotion regulation theories. More specifically, the model involves emotion generation and integrates models for three emotion regulation strategies: reappraisal, expressive suppression, and situation modification. The model was designed as a dynamical system. Simulation experiments are reported showing the role of three emotion regulation strategies. The simulation results show how a potential stressful situation in principle could lead to emotional strain and how this can be avoided by applying the three emotion regulation strategies decreasing the stressful effects.
    IAT'15; 09/2015
  • Source
    • "The results of previous studies showed a significant relationship between positive mood and a commitment in pleasant activities [2] [3] [4]. Consequently, behavioral treatments of depression aim to increase activation and decrease avoidance; this should allow more contacts with positive reinforcement and, therefore, improve the individual's affective state [1] [5] [6]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A decrease in the level of engagement in activities (“behavioral activation”) is usually observed in major depressive disorder. Because behavioral treatments of depression aim to counteract that mechanism, assessing changes in behavioral activation during treatment is of great interest. Therefore, Manos et al. (2011) developed a scale that assesses these changes, which was called the Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale – Short Form (BADS-SF). The aim of this study is to present a French version of this scale and to discuss its psychometric properties. The BADS-SF was translated into French, and 504 non-clinical adults completed an online survey that was composed of that scale and convergent measures. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses were performed in two independent samples, and a two-factor solution was recommended, which references two functions of the engagement in activities (i.e., “activation” and “avoidance”). The results showed high levels of internal consistency and satisfying scores in terms of skewness and kurtosis. Moreover, relationships with measures of depression and behavioral systems indicated a good convergent validity. Therefore, the French BADS-SF can be seen as a reliable and valid instrument.
    Comprehensive Psychiatry 10/2014; 56. DOI:10.1016/j.comppsych.2014.10.008 · 2.25 Impact Factor
    • "In addition, a component analysis of a cognitive therapy approach has demonstrated that the behavioural components alone resulted in the same outcomes as the full cognitive therapy package both at the end of acute treatment and at 2-year follow-up for participants experiencing major depression (Jacobson et al. 1996; Gortner et al. 1998). A metaanalysis undertaken by Cuijpers et al. (2007) led to the conclusion that behavioural activation strategies alone are effective in reducing depression symptoms in adults, while subsequent randomised controlled trials have supported the finding that behavioural activation produces outcomes equivalent to those of a combination behavioural and cognitive approach (Cuijpers et al. 2008; Ekers et al. 2008). There are indications, furthermore, that behavioural strategies alone may be as effective as pharmacological treatments . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We examined the efficacy of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered in groups on the reduction of symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress in young people on the autism spectrum. Utilising a quasi-experimental design, comparisons were made between individuals allocated to a group intervention program and individuals allocated to a waitlist. Following the intervention program, participants who were initially symptomatic reported significantly lower depression and stress scores on the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales in comparison to individuals on the waitlist. There was no significant change in anxiety related symptoms. The benefits were maintained at 3 and 9 month follow-up. Our findings demonstrate the potential of CBT in a small group setting for assisting young people with ASD who have symptoms of depression and stress.
    Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 03/2014; 44(8). DOI:10.1007/s10803-014-2087-9 · 3.06 Impact Factor
Show more