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Transcult Psychiatry. 2010 Jul;47(3):473-90. doi: 10.1177/1363461510374561.

Treatment of depression in patients from ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands.

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  • 1Parnassia Bavo Psychiatric Institute.


This article presents the results of a large efficacy study comparing different forms of therapy for major depressive disorder (MDD), including interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and pharmacotherapy. Patients were randomized to either IPT, IPT in combination with anti-depressant medication, IPT in combination with pill-placebo or medication only. The primary outcome measure was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD). Patients were treated for 12 to 16 weeks. Ratings were performed at baseline, after 6 weeks of treatment and at the end of treatment. Ethnic minority patients (EMP) had higher scores on the HAMD than non-EMP for every rating period. However, the rate of improvement was the same for EMP and non-EMP. The higher mean scores of EMP on the HAMD could not be explained as solely due to higher scores on somatic items of the rating scales. The attrition rate in EMP (45.9%) was significantly higher than in non-EMP (24.4%), even in the structured treatment format studied. The results suggest that standard antidepressant therapy, be it medication, psychotherapy or both, may be effective for depressed minority patients but therapists should focus on enhancing adherence to treatment.

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