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Behav Res Ther. 2012 Nov;50(11):699-706. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

The compensation and capitalization models: a test of two approaches to individualizing the treatment of depression.

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Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, 1835 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, United States.


Despite long-standing calls for the individualization of treatments for depression, modest progress has been made in this effort. The primary objective of this study was to test two competing approaches to personalizing cognitive-behavioral treatment of depression (viz., capitalization and compensation). Thirty-four adults meeting criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (59% female, 85% Caucasian) were randomized to 16-weeks of cognitive-behavioral treatment in which strategies used were selected based on either the capitalization approach (treatment matched to relative strengths) or the compensation approach (treatment matched to relative deficits). Outcome was assessed with a composite measure of both self-report (i.e., Beck Depression Inventory) and observer-rated (i.e., Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression) depressive symptoms. Hierarchical linear modeling revealed a significant treatment approach by time interaction indicating a faster rate of symptom change for the capitalization approach compared to the compensation approach (d = .69, p = .03). Personalizing treatment to patients' relative strengths led to better outcome than treatment personalized to patients' relative deficits. If replicated, these findings would suggest a significant change in thinking about how therapists might best adapt cognitive-behavioral interventions for depression for particular patients.

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