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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999 Jun;56(6):573-9.

Efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy for depressed adolescents.

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Division of Clinical-Genetic Epidemiology, New York State Psychiatric Institute and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York 10032, USA.



Psychotherapy is widely used for depressed adolescents, but evidence supporting its efficacy is sparse.


In a controlled, 12-week, clinical trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Adolescents (IPT-A), 48 clinic-referred adolescents (aged 12-18 years) who met the criteria for DSM-III-R major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to either weekly IPT-A or clinical monitoring. Patients were seen biweekly by a "blind" independent evaluator to assess their symptoms, social functioning, and social problem-solving skills. Thirty-two of the 48 patients completed the protocol (21 IPT-A-assigned patients and 11 patients in the control group).


Patients who received IPT-A reported a notably greater decrease in depressive symptoms and greater improvement in overall social functioning, functioning with friends, and specific problem-solving skills. In the intent-to-treat sample, 18 (75%) of 24 patients who received IPT-A compared with 11 patients (46%) in the control condition met recovery criterion (Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score < or =6) at week 12.


These preliminary findings support the feasibility, acceptability, and efficacy of 12 weeks of IPT-A in acutely depressed adolescents in reducing depressive symptoms and improving social functioning and interpersonal problem-solving skills. Because it is a small sample consisting largely of Latino, low socioeconomic status adolescents, further studies must be conducted with other adolescent populations to confirm the generalizability of the findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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