Major depressive disorder (MOD) is common, with 12-month prevalence rates estimated at between 6.6- 10.3%. A large literature has established that depression can be effectively treated using pharmacotherapy and/or psychotherapy. Several studies have found that given a choice, about two-thirds of depressed patients prefer psychotherapy or counseling over antidepressant medication. While psychotherapy is both effective and ostensibly desirable, a variety of barriers exist both to initiating and maintaining psychotherapy. Only about 20% of all patients referred for psychotherapy ever follow-up. Of those who do initiate psychotherapy, nearly half drop out prior to completion of treatment. Administering psychotherapy over the telephone may overcome many barriers associated with failure to initiate treatment and attrition from treatment. A number of recent studies have shown that telephone- administered treatments are effective at reducing depression, well accepted by patients, able to extend treatment to patients who experience significant barriers including disabilities. Furthermore, telephone administered psychotherapies are likely associated with low rates of attrition, compared to treatments delivered face-to-face. This study will compare a 16-week telephone-administered cognitive behavioral therapy (T-CBT) intervention to 16 weeks of face-to-face CBT (FtF-CBT). It is hypothesized that 1)T-CBT will produce lower rates of attrition compared to FtF-CBT, 2) intent-to-treat analyses will show T-CBT to produce significantly greater reductions in depression compared to FtF-CBT, in the sample initiating treatment and 3) the greater reductions in depression associated with T-CBT will be fully mediated by attrition. This research has the potential to produce a manualized T-CBT program that could extend treatment to many populations who are currently unable to access care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Interventions Committee for Adult Mood and Anxiety Disorders (ITMA)
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Pearson, Jane L
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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