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Afr J Psychiatry (Johannesbg). 2011 Jul;14(3):200-7. doi:

Psychological treatments for depression and anxiety disorders in low- and middle- income countries: a meta-analysis.

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Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa.



The objective of this meta-analysis was to determine the efficacy of psychological treatments for depression and anxiety disorders in low- and middle- income countries (LAMIC).


Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on psychological treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in low-and middle income countries using an existing database (, PubMed, Embase, Psychinfo, Dissertation Abstracts International and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for studies published in all languages. Additional studies were identified from reference lists of found studies. Randomized controlled trials in which a psychological intervention for anxiety or depression was compared to a control condition (care-as-usual, waiting list, placebo, or another control group) were included. The randomized controlled trials needed to be conducted in a LAMI country (classification of LAMI countries according to the World Bank's list of economies) to be eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Psychological treatments were defined as interventions in which the core element of treatment consisted of verbal communication between a therapist and a patient.


Seventeen studies met our inclusion criteria, with a total of 3,010 participants. The mean standardized difference between the treatment and control groups at post-test was 1.02 (95% CI: 0.76∼1.28) which corresponds well with the effects found in high-income countries.


These results indicate that psychological treatments of depression and anxiety disorders are also effective in LAMI countries, and may encourage global dissemination of these interventions.

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