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Is psychotherapy effective? A re-analysis of treatments for depression


Munder, T; Flückiger, Christoph; Leichsenring, F; Abbass, A A; Hilsenroth, M J; Luyten, P; Rabung, S; Steinert, C; Wampold, Bruce E (2019). Is psychotherapy effective? A re-analysis of treatments for depression. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 28(3):268-274.

Abstract

AIMS: The aim of this study was to reanalyse the data from Cuijpers et al.'s (2018) meta-analysis, to examine Eysenck's claim that psychotherapy is not effective. Cuijpers et al., after correcting for bias, concluded that the effect of psychotherapy for depression was small (standardised mean difference, SMD, between 0.20 and 0.30), providing evidence that psychotherapy is not as effective as generally accepted.

METHODS: The data for this study were the effect sizes included in Cuijpers et al. (2018). We removed outliers from the data set of effects, corrected for publication bias and segregated psychotherapy from other interventions. In our study, we considered wait-list (WL) controls as the most appropriate estimate of the natural history of depression without intervention.

RESULTS: The SMD for all interventions and for psychotherapy compared to WL controls was approximately 0.70, a value consistent with past estimates of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy was also more effective than care-as-usual (SMD = 0.31) and other control groups (SMD = 0.43).

CONCLUSIONS: The re-analysis reveals that psychotherapy for adult patients diagnosed with depression is effective.

Abstract

AIMS: The aim of this study was to reanalyse the data from Cuijpers et al.'s (2018) meta-analysis, to examine Eysenck's claim that psychotherapy is not effective. Cuijpers et al., after correcting for bias, concluded that the effect of psychotherapy for depression was small (standardised mean difference, SMD, between 0.20 and 0.30), providing evidence that psychotherapy is not as effective as generally accepted.

METHODS: The data for this study were the effect sizes included in Cuijpers et al. (2018). We removed outliers from the data set of effects, corrected for publication bias and segregated psychotherapy from other interventions. In our study, we considered wait-list (WL) controls as the most appropriate estimate of the natural history of depression without intervention.

RESULTS: The SMD for all interventions and for psychotherapy compared to WL controls was approximately 0.70, a value consistent with past estimates of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy was also more effective than care-as-usual (SMD = 0.31) and other control groups (SMD = 0.43).

CONCLUSIONS: The re-analysis reveals that psychotherapy for adult patients diagnosed with depression is effective.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Epidemiology
Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:June 2019
Deposited On:23 Jan 2020 12:13
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 13:38
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:2045-7960
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796018000355
PubMed ID:30058524

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