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Psychiatr Serv. 2014 May 1;65(5):612-7. doi: 10.1176/

The effects of psychotherapy on depression among racial-ethnic minority groups: a metaregression analysis.



Several psychotherapies have been found to be effective in the treatment of depression among adults. However, little is known about whether effectiveness differs by racial-ethnic minority group. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to assess the relative effects of psychotherapy for persons from racial-ethnic minority groups, by examining whether a sample's racial-ethnic minority proportion was a moderator of the effect size of psychotherapy.


Eligible studies were identified with an existing database of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the psychological treatment of depression among adults. The analysis included all studies in which the effect of psychotherapy for adults with a depressive disorder or symptomatology was compared with a control condition in an RCT. Only studies that reported the overall racial-ethnic minority proportion of the sample or the studies reporting specific racial-ethnic backgrounds of participants were included. A total of 56 RCTs reported the proportion of participants from racial-ethnic minority groups (with 77 comparisons between psychotherapy treatment and control groups).


An overall moderate effect size (g=.50) in favor of psychotherapy was found. No significant moderating effect of race-ethnicity was found in bivariate and multivariate analyses.


Results suggest that psychotherapy is equally effective regardless of care seekers' race-ethnicity. Future research should focus on filling in the gap between effective mental health care and the delivery of these services.

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