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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2000;30(3):229-45.

The design, implementation, and acceptance of a primary care-based intervention to prevent depression relapse.

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  • 1Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, Washington 98101, USA.



This article describes the conceptual underpinnings, implementation, and participation rates of a twelve-month low-intensity primary care-based intervention to prevent depression relapse. The intervention was designed to address the inherent problems in delivery of effective maintenance treatment in a population based sample of primary care patients.


Patients at high risk of relapse based on psychiatric history who recovered from depression six to eight weeks after initiation of pharmacotherapy by their primary care physician were eligible; 194 were randomized to receive the intervention. The intervention combined education about depression, motivation-enhancing shared decision-making regarding the use of maintenance pharmacotherapy, and cognitive-behavioral strategies. The program included two visits with a Depression Prevention Specialist working in tandem with the primary care physician at the primary care clinic, with supervision and back up from a consulting psychiatrist, proactive follow-up telephone calls and mailed personalized feedback.


Ninety-three percent of patients attended both in-person visits; 97 percent attended one visit. Eighty percent of patients completed all three follow-up telephone calls, and 85 percent returned at least one mailed feedback form; 48 percent returned all four forms. Offered a menu of options for self-management, most patients chose medication as well as a variety of behavioral strategies. At six months, 72 percent ofpatients and at twelve months 62 percent of patients remained on antidepressant medication.


We conclude that it is feasible to integrate a low intensity, twelve-month relapse prevention intervention for depression into a primary care clinic.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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