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Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2012;14(2). pii: PCC.11m01220. doi: 10.4088/PCC.11m01220. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of depression and adherence in patients with type 1 diabetes: pilot data and feasibility.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Wells College, Aurora, New York (Dr Markowitz); Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, New York, NewYork (Dr Gonzalez); and Diabetes Research Center (Ms Delahanty) and Behavioral Medicine Service (Mr Carper and Dr Safren), Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.



Depression is one of the most common psychological problems affecting individuals with type 1 diabetes, and it is associated with treatment nonadherence and worse clinical outcomes. The research on treating depression or nonadherence in adults with type 1 diabetes is limited. We adapted an evidence-supported treatment, individual cognitive-behavioral therapy for adherence and depression (CBT-AD), for type 1 diabetes and examined its feasibility, acceptability, and potential for an effect.


The pilot study included 9 patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of major depression, dysthymia, or residual depressive symptoms despite treatment with an antidepressant; a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes per patient self-report; and a glycosylated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) level of 8.0% or greater. Patients were referred by their diabetes care providers to a behavioral medicine specialty setting and received 10 to 12 sessions of CBT-AD. Main outcome measures included percent of eligible participants who enrolled in the study, session attendance, independently-rated Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) score, self-reported adherence to diabetes care activities, and adherence to self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. Data were collected from June 27, 2008, through March 31, 2010.


There was a clinically meaningful decrease in depression severity (mean [SD] MADRS score decrease from 26.0 [4.73] to 12.3 [7.37], Cohen d = 2.90), demonstrated improvements in diabetes self-care (increase in blood glucose monitoring from 65.0 [26.72] to 82.7 [22.75], Cohen d = -0.66, and a difference in self-reported percent insulin doses in the past 2 weeks from 77.1 [29.84] to 87.1 [23.6], Cohen d = -0.34), and possible improvement in glycemic control (decrease in HbA1c levels from 9.6 [1.32] to 9.0 [1.04], Cohen d = 0.45).


These preliminary results provide evidence for the acceptability, feasibility, and potential utility of CBT-AD for patients with type 1 diabetes and depression.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01527981.

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