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J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2014 Nov-Dec;29(6):467-78. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000098.

Comparison of cognitive behavioral therapy and supportive psychotherapy for the treatment of depression following traumatic brain injury: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Neurorehabililation Psychology, The Shepherd Center, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Ashman); and Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York (Drs Cantor, Tsaousides, Spielman, and Gordon).



To determine the efficacy of 2 different interventions (cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT] and supportive psychotherapy [SPT]) to treat post-traumatic brain injury (TBI) depression.


A sample of 77 community-dwelling individuals with a TBI, and a diagnosis of depression. Participants were randomized into treatment conditions either CBT or SPT and received up to 16 sessions of individual psychotherapy.


Participants completed the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV and self-report measures of depression (Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition), anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), perceived social support (Interpersonal Support Evaluation List), stressful life events (Life Experiences Survey), and quality of life (QOL) before beginning and immediately following treatment.


No significant differences were found at baseline between CBT and SPT groups on demographic factors (sex, age, education, race, and time since injury) or baseline measures of depression, anxiety, participation, perceived social support, stressful life events, or QOL. Analyses of variance revealed significant time effects for the Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and QOL outcome measures but no group effects. Intention-to-treat mixed effects analyses did not find any significant difference in patterns of scores of the outcome measures between the CBT and SPT intervention groups.


Both forms of psychotherapy were efficacious in improving diagnoses of depression and anxiety and reducing depressive symptoms. These findings suggest that in this sample of individuals with TBI, CBT was not more effective in treating depression than SPT, though further research is needed with larger sample sizes to identify different components of these interventions that may be effective with different TBI populations. Identifier: NCT00211835.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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