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therapies, whereas it was significantly lower in problem-solving therapy. This study suggests that there are no large differences in efficacy between the major psychotherapies for mild to moderate depression.  

The effect of telephone-administered psychotherapy on symptoms of depression and attrition: A meta-analysis. 

Mohr, D. C., Vella, L., Hart, S., Heckman, T. & Simon, G. (2008). Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 15(3), 243-253.

Increasingly, the telephone is being used to deliver psychotherapy for depression, in part as a means to reduce barriers to treatment. Twelve trials of telephone-administered psychotherapies, in which depressive symptoms were assessed, were included. There was a significant reduction in depressive symptoms for patients enrolled in telephone-administered psychotherapy as compared to control conditions (d = 0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.14-0.39, p < .0001). There was also a significant reduction in depressive symptoms in analyses of pretreatment to posttreatment change (d = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.50-1.13, p < .0001). The mean attrition rate was 7.56% (95% CI = 4.23-10.90). These findings suggest that telephone-administered psychotherapy can produce significant reductions in depressive symptoms. Attrition rates were considerably lower than rates reported in face-to-face psychotherapy.  

Effects of psychotherapy and other behavioral interventions on clinically depressed older adults: A meta-analysis.

Pinquart, M., Duberstein, P. R. & Lyness, J. M. (2007). Aging & Mental Health, 11(6), 645-657.

Objectives: The goal of the present study was to assess the effects of psychotherapy and other behavioral interventions on depressive symptoms in clinically depressed older patients. Methods: We used meta-analysis to examine the effects of 57 controlled intervention studies. Results: On average, self-rated depression improved by d = 0.84 standard deviation units and clinician-rated depression improved by d = 0.93. Effect sizes were large for cognitive and behavioral therapy (CBT) and reminiscence; and medium for psychodynamic therapy, psychoeducation, physical exercise and supportive interventions. Age differences in treatment effects were not observed. Weaker effects were found in studies that used an active control group and in studies of physically ill or cognitively impaired patients. Studies of samples comprised exclusively of patients suffering from major depression (versus other mood disorders) also yielded weaker intervention effects. On average, 18.9% of participants did not complete the intervention, with higher dropout rates reported in group (versus individual) interventions and in longer interventions. Conclusions: We conclude that cognitive-behavioral therapy and reminiscence are particularly well-established and acceptable forms of depression treatment. Interventions with 7-12 sessions may optimize effectiveness while minimizing dropout rates. For physically and cognitively impaired patients, modifications in treatment format and/or content might be useful, such as combining psychotherapy with social work interventions and pharmacotherapy.  

A meta-analysis of psychotherapy and medication in unipolar depression and dysthymia.

Imel, Z. E., Malterer, M. B., McKay, K. M. & Wampold, B. E. (2008). Journal of Affective Disorders, 110(3), 197-206.

Background: There remains considerable disagreement regarding the relative efficacy of psychotherapy and medication across types of depression. Method: We used random effects meta-analysis to examine the relative efficacy of psychotherapy vis-à-vis medication at posttreatment and follow-up. We also estimated the relative efficacy of continued medication versus discontinued psychotherapy. As twenty-eight studies (39 effects, n = 3381) met inclusion

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