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Depress Anxiety. 2002;16(3):114-7.

Interpersonal psychotherapy delivered over the telephone to recurrent depressives. A pilot study.

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  • 1Clinical Psychology Program, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Rates of recurrent depression peak among women in their childbearing years, yet a large number of these women are not treated or do not seek maintenance treatment between episodes. Barriers to treatment include time constraints, demands of child care, and finances. A method for improving access to treatment of depression may be delivery of psychotherapy over the telephone. A 12-week pilot controlled clinical trial with random assignment was conducted to test the feasibility and efficacy of Interpersonal Psychotherapy delivered over the telephone (IPT-T) for depression in women (N=15 IPT-T and N=15 no treatment) with a life-time history of recurrent depression and low rates of previous treatment. Patients were interviewed at baseline and at 12 weeks by a blind and independent clinical evaluator to assess their symptom level and social functioning. IPT-T as compared to no treatment was significantly better in lowering symptoms of depression as measured by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (p<.02), improving global functioning (GAS) (p<.02), and improving work and social functioning (p<.03-.05, respectively). These preliminary findings support the feasibility and helpfulness of IPT-T in preventing an increase in depressive symptoms among women with recurrent depression but current mild to moderately levels of depression.

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