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Clin Psychol (New York). 2008;15(3):243-253.

The Effect of Telephone-Administered Psychotherapy on Symptoms of Depression and Attrition: A Meta-Analysis.

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  • 1Northwestern University, Hines Veterans Administration Hospital.


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.

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