Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changing thoughts key to battling even severe depression

Date:
May 14, 2010
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Moderate to severely depressed clients showed greater improvement in cognitive therapy when therapists emphasized changing how they think rather than how they behave, new research has found.

Moderate to severely depressed clients showed greater improvement in cognitive therapy when therapists emphasized changing how they think rather than how they behave, new research has found.

Related Articles


The results suggest cognitive therapists should concentrate, at least during the first few sessions, on using cognitive techniques to help those with more severe depression to break out of negative thought patterns and to see events in their lives more realistically.

The study found that a concentration on changing behavior -- such as having patients schedule activities to get them out of the house, and tracking how they spent their time -- did not significantly predict subsequent change in depressive symptoms.

"There has been a lot of attention recently on behavioral approaches to treating severe depression, and that may lead some people to suspect that cognitive techniques are not important for more severely depressed patients," said Daniel Strunk, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

"But our results suggest that it was the cognitive strategies that actually helped patients improve the most during the first critical weeks of cognitive-behavioral therapy."

Strunk conducted the study with Melissa Brotman of the National Institute of Mental Health and Robert DeRubeis of the University of Pennsylvania. Their results appear online in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy and will appear in a later print edition.

The study involved 60 patients who were diagnosed with major depression and who were being treated at two university clinics.

All the patients were being treated by one of six cognitive therapists and agreed to have their therapy sessions videotaped for study.

Two trained raters reviewed the videotapes of the first through the fourth therapy sessions. They rated how much the therapists relied on cognitive and behavioral methods and other aspects of the sessions.

In addition, patients completed a questionnaire at each session that measured their depression levels.

The researchers examined the relationship between specific techniques used by their therapists and the extent of improvement in patients' depression scores from one session to the next.

The study focused on the first few weeks of therapy because other studies suggest that is when patients make the largest improvement in depression levels, Strunk said.

Results showed that patients' depression scores improved significantly when their therapists focused on cognitive techniques, but didn't change when their therapists focused on behavioral techniques.

Other factors were also associated with patient improvement, the study found.

Patients improved more when they collaborated with their therapists about a plan for treatment and followed that plan.

Not surprisingly, patients also showed greater improvement when they were more engaged in the therapy process and were open to suggestions from their therapist.

"If you're a patient and willing to fully commit to the therapy process, our data suggest you will see more benefit," Strunk said.

Strunk said this research is being continued at Ohio State's Depression Treatment and Research Clinic. Researchers there are working with people suffering from depression to understand the nature of cognitive change and how it affects their improvement.

"We're trying to understand if cognitive therapy leads people to a profound change in their basic self view, or if it teaches them a set of skills that they have to continually practice over time," he said.

Strunk said these results suggest that, despite the recent attention given to behavioral approaches to treating depression, cognitive techniques appear to be quite powerful.

"In our sample of cognitive therapy patients, cognitive techniques appeared to promote a lessening of depression symptoms in a way that was not true of behavioral techniques," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. The original article was written by Jeff Grabmeier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel R. Strunk, Melissa A. Brotman, Robert J. DeRubeis. The process of change in cognitive therapy for depression: Predictors of early inter-session symptom gains. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2010.03.011

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Changing thoughts key to battling even severe depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512125257.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2010, May 14). Changing thoughts key to battling even severe depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512125257.htm
Ohio State University. "Changing thoughts key to battling even severe depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100512125257.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins