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Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews [Internet]. York (UK): Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (UK); 1995-.

Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (DARE): Quality-assessed Reviews.

Psychological treatment of depressive symptoms in patients with medical disorders: a meta-analysis

Review published: 2010.

Bibliographic details: van Straten A, Geraedts A, Verdonck-de Leeuw I, Andersson G, Cuijpers P.  Psychological treatment of depressive symptoms in patients with medical disorders: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 2010; 69(1): 23-32. [PubMed: 20630260]

Quality assessment

This meta-analysis concluded that psychological treatments were effective in reducing depression in people with a depressive disorder or elevated level of depressive symptomatology in addition to a range of medical disorders. Considerable heterogeneity and limitations of individual studies mean these conclusions should be interpreted with caution. Full critical summary

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: It is widely acknowledged that the prevalence of depression in the general population is high, but that it is even higher for patients with medical disorders. Yet, the effectiveness of psychological treatments in these patient populations has not been firmly established.

METHODS: We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies examining the effects of psychological treatments in patients with 1 of 10 different medical disorders and elevated levels of depression. Extensive searches were performed in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials.

RESULTS: We included 23 studies. The overall effect size of the 15 studies that compared psychological treatments with a waitlist or care-as-usual control group was d=1.00 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.57-1.44] but declined to d=0.42 (95% CI, 0.27-0.58) after removing two outliers with extremely high effects. We tested the type of disorder, inclusion based on diagnostic criteria or symptoms, type of treatment, treatment format, type of control group, and intention-to-treat or completers analyses, but none of these variables were significantly associated with the effect. The four studies that compared one type of psychotherapy to another showed a positive effect of cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy compared to supportive therapy (d=0.42; 95% CI, 0.14-0.69). There were not enough studies (n=3) to draw any conclusions about the comparison of psychotherapy to pharmacotherapy.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the effects of psychological treatment of patients with medical disorders are very similar to those found in otherwise healthy patients. Treating this comorbid depression should be one of the priorities in medical care settings.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

CRD has determined that this article meets the DARE scientific quality criteria for a systematic review.

Copyright © 2012 University of York.

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