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 October 24, 2014 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 October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) — A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) — Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) — We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. 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