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Nord J Psychiatry. 2010 Apr;64(2):78-86. doi: 10.3109/08039480903402227.

The outcomes of interpersonal counselling on depressive symptoms and distress after myocardial infarction.

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Department of Nursing Science and Psychiatric Clinic, Turku University Central Hospital, Turku, Finland.



Depression is not treated adequately after myocardial infarction (MI). This study evaluates the interpersonal counselling (IPC) implemented by a registered nurse on outcomes for depressive symptoms and distress in MI patients.


We studied MI patients (n = 103) randomized into intervention group (n = 51) and control group (n = 52) in hospital and at 6 and 18 months after discharge using validated questionnaires, Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Symptom Checklist-25 (SCL-25).


During the 18-month follow-up, depressive symptoms decreased statistically significantly (P = 0.009) in the intervention group compared with the control group. In the IPC intervention group, depressive symptoms decreased from 37.3% to 20.4% at 6 months (P = 0.014), and to 16.7% at 18 months (P = 0.001), while distress decreased from 37.3% to 26.5% (P = 0.132) during the 6-month follow-up, and to 20.8% (P = 0.015). In the control group with normal care, the number of patients with depressive symptoms and distress varied slightly at the three measurements, from 30.2 to 39.6%.


The number of patients with depressive symptoms and distress decreased in the intervention group and remained high in the control group. The progress of severity level of depressive symptoms was toward milder symptoms in the intervention group during the 18-month follow-up. This brief intervention that can rapidly be adopted may result in enduring benefits of clinical value.

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