Psychological Treatment of Depression


An increasing number of randomized controlled studies have clearly demonstrated that psychological interventions are effective in the treatment of depression.
This can also be seen from the above figure: number of studies from 1970 to 2005 in the world (red line), and in the United States (blue line).

A Dutch research group has made a database available of controlled and comparative outcome studies on psychological treatments of depression. The database can be accessed freely through the Internet.

The data on the 149 included studies are presented in order to give other researchers access to the studies we collected, and to give background information about the meta-analyses we have published using this dataset. The number of studies examining the effects of psychological treatments of depression has increased considerably in the past decades, and this will continue in the future. The database we have presented in this paper can help to integrate the results of these studies in future meta-analyses and systematic reviews on psychological treatments for depression.

This group performed systematic reviews and meta-analysis on different subjects within psychotherapy for depression.

  • Psychological treatments are effective in the treatment of depression in older adults
  • Too few studies were available to draw conclusions about the relative effects of psychological treatments compared to pharmacological and other treatments for psychological treatment of post partum depression
  • 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 a meta-analysis found clear indications that it is effective. Activity scheduling is a therapy in which patients learn techniques to monitor their mood and daily activities, and to see the connection between these. Then the patients learn how to develop a plan to increase number of pleasant activities and to increase positive interactions with their environment. In this approach, specific attention is paid to social skills and interactions with other people.

In this paper, they present the methods they have used to build this database, and an overview of the characteristics of the studies that have been included in the database.There objectives with providing free access to this database are:

  • The database can give other researcher access to the studies they have collected and facilitate replications and independent analyses of selections of studies.
  • The database can provide background information about their own (published, in press, and currently written) meta-analyses.
  • They hope the database might help researchers to plan new studies and hence either encourage or discourage replications without “reinventing the wheel”.

Praiseworthy initiative.

Related posts on this blog:
About activity scheduling for depression
Exercise as antidepressant
3 Times walking 50 minutes a week for treatment resistant depression
Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Warmerdam, L., Andersson, G. (2008). Psychological treatment of depression: A meta-analytic database of randomized studies. BMC Psychiatry, 8(1), 36. DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-8-36
CUIJPERS, P., VANSTRATEN, A., WARMERDAM, L. (2007). Behavioral activation treatments of depression: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 27(3), 318-326. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2006.11.001
Cuijpers, P., Brännmark, J.G., van Straten, A. (2007). Psychological treatment of postpartum depression: a meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 64(1), 103-118. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20432
Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Smit, F. (2006). Psychological treatment of late-life depression: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 21(12), 1139-1149. DOI: 10.1002/gps.1620