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Psychiatry Res. 2016 May 30;239:325-30. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.03.044. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

The clinical effectiveness of cognitive behavior therapy and an alternative medicine approach in reducing symptoms of depression in adolescents.

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Mood Disorder Department, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 2S8. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology of Child Development, Faculty of Human Ecology, University Putra Malaysia, Malaysia.
School of Psychology, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


The main aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of two psychotherapeutic approaches, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and a complementary medicine method Reiki, in reducing depression scores in adolescents. We recruited 188 adolescent patients who were 12-17 years old. Participants were randomly assigned to CBT, Reiki or wait-list. Depression scores were assessed before and after the 12 week interventions or wait-list. CBT showed a significantly greater decrease in Child Depression Inventory (CDI) scores across treatment than both Reiki (p<.001) and the wait-list control (p<.001). Reiki also showed greater decreases in CDI scores across treatment relative to the wait-list control condition (p=.031). The analyses indicated a significant interaction between gender, condition and change in CDI scores, such that male participants showed a smaller treatment effect for Reiki than did female participants. Both CBT and Reiki were effective in reducing the symptoms of depression over the treatment period, with effect for CBT greater than Reiki. These findings highlight the importance of early intervention for treatment of depression using both cognitive and complementary medicine approaches. However, research that tests complementary therapies over a follow-up period and against a placebo treatment is required.


Adolescents; Cognitive behavior therapy; Reiki and depression

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