Hier sind alle relevanten Publikationen zum Thema zusammengetragen. Diese Liste richtet sich in erster Stelle an Therapeut*innen, Psycholog*innen und Forscher*innen.


Originalmanual: Klerman G, Weissman MM, Rounsaville B, Chevron E. Interpersonal Psychotherapy  of Depression. New York, Basic Books, 1984.

Schramm E. Interpersonelle Psychotherapie. 4. Ausg. Stuttgart: Schattauer, 2019.

Schramm E, Klecha D. Interpersonelle Psychotherapie in der Gruppe. Stuttgart, Schattauer, 2010.

Weissman MM, Markowitz JC, Klerman G. The guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Updated and Expanded, New York: Oxford Press 2018.


Weitere Bücher und Manuale in Englisch:

Group interpersonal psychotherapy for depression (pdf, 1.3MB)


Depression allgemein

Affektive Störungen

Berger M, van Calker D, Brakemeier E et al

Course of depression: Persistence and recurrence

Klein DN, Allmann AES

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL. Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014: 64–83

Traditionally, depressive disorders have been viewed as acute and time-limited. However, in recent decades, depression has been reconceptualized as a highly recurrent or chronic and often lifelong condition (Andrews, 2001). Neither view is completely accurate. Rather, the course of depression is markedly heterogeneous and includes single brief episodes that remit and never recur, multiple acute episodes interspersed with periods of complete recovery, acute episodes followed by long periods of residual symptoms, and chronic episodes that may fluctuate in severity but persist for decades. This fact raises significant challenges for clinicians, patients, and family members trying to forecast the course of the disorder and formulate appropriate treatment plans, but it may also provide some leverage in understanding the etiological and pathophysiological heterogeneity of depression. In this chapter, we (1) discuss the concepts of recovery, chronicity, and recurrence; (2) summarize data on the rates of recovery, chronicity, and recurrence in major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymic disorder; (3) note a number of conceptual and methodological issues that underlie the research literature; (4) review the classification, correlates, and predictors of persistent/chronic depression; (5) summarize correlates and predictors of recurrent depression; and (6) consider the concept of a chronic/recurrent spectrum.

Depression and interpersonal processes

Hammen CL, Shih J

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL (eds). Handbook of depression, 3rd edition, New York: Guilford press 2014, 277-295

For most people depression is a disorder of dysfunctional responses to stressors and stressful circumstances, perhaps most commonly about the loss of, frustrated access to, or failure to attain something that the individual believes is essential to his or her sense of worth and competence. Often, it is the loss of an important interpersonal relationship. Both the depressive symptoms themselves and the vulnerabilities to respond to stress with depression may contribute to dysfunctional interactions with the social world. The internal etiological processes of neurobiological, genetic, emotional, cognitive, and personality vulnerabilities intersect with the interpersonal and environmental context in which persons function in their daily roles as mates, family members, parents, workers, and friends. The relations of the person with depression or who is vulnerable to depression with others are affected in ways that may create further social stressors and provoke depressive responses. Indeed, several of the defining features of the course of depression are related to aspects of the interpersonal context of depression: It is far more prevalent in women than men; it can be a self-perpetuating disorder for many individuals with resulting chronic and recurring episodes; it can be self-propagating from one generation to another in the context of dysfunctional patterns of family processes, vulnerabilities, stressors, and depression. Dynamic, transactional processes affecting close relationships are woven through all elements of our understanding of depression. This chapter explores research on the interpersonal elements of depression—the interpersonal consequences of depression, interpersonal risk and vulnerability factors, and possible origins of such vulnerabilities.

Interpersonal Processes in Depression

Hames JL, Hagan CR, Joiner TE

Humans have an intrinsic need for social connection; thus, it is crucial to understand depression in an interpersonal context. Interpersonal theories of depression posit that depressed individuals tend to interact with others in a way that elicits rejection, which increases their risk for future depression. In this review, we summarize the interpersonal characteristics, risk factors, and consequences of depression in the context of the relevant theories that address the role of interpersonal processes in the onset, maintenance, and chronicity of depression. Topics reviewed include social skills, behavioral features, communication behaviors, interpersonal feedback seeking, and interpersonal styles as they relate to depression. Treatment implications are discussed in light of the current research on interpersonal processes in depression, and the following future directions are discussed: developing integrative models of depression, improving measurement of interpersonal constructs, examining the association between interpersonal processes in depression and suicide, and tailoring interventions to target interpersonal processes in depression.

Epidemiology of depression

Kessler RC, Wang PS

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL. Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014

Epidemiological evidence shows that major depressive disorder (MDD) is a commonly occurring, seriously impairing, and often undertreated disorder. MDD occurs in the context of a very high prevalence of depressed mood and a high prevalence of subsyndromal depressive episodes. MDD is often recurrent and is typically comorbid with other mental disorders that are usually temporally primary in the sense that first lifetime onset of MDD usually occurs after the onset of at least one other lifetime comorbid disorder. Future efforts such as the NIMH RDoC initiative will be needed to identify the neural circuitry, disease mechanisms, and critical periods underlying depression—information essential to improving our current diagnostic, therapeutic, and prevention strategies. Progress in these areas is sorely needed, as evidenced by the structural impairments that occur subsequent to the onset of MDD, including low educational attainment, poor marital outcomes, and poor socioeconomic outcomes. The day-to-day role impairments that occur in conjunction with MDD include poor performance in both productive and social roles. Increased efforts are needed to document the cost-effectiveness of expanded depression treatment and of treatment-quality improvement initiatives. Because employers play such a large part in driving health insurance benefit design in the United States, it is especially important to document the return on investment of expanded depression outreach and treatment from the employer perspective. We also need to expand research on modifiable barriers to help seeking for depression and to evaluate the effectiveness of systematic depression screening and outreach programs designed to increase the proportion of people with depression who seek treatment.

Interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: A meta-analysis

Cuijpers P, Geraedts AS, van Oppen P et al

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), a structured and time-limited therapy, has been studied in many controlled trials. Numerous practice guidelines have recommended IPT as a treatment of choice for unipolar depressive disorders. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to integrate research on the effects of IPT.

The authors searched bibliographical databases for randomized controlled trials comparing IPT with no treatment, usual care, other psychological treatments, and pharmacotherapy as well as studies comparing combination treatment using pharmacotherapy and IPT. Maintenance studies were also included.

Thirty-eight studies including 4,356 patients met all inclusion criteria. The overall effect size (Cohen's d) of the 16 studies that compared IPT and a control group was 0.63 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.36 to 0.90), corresponding to a number needed to treat of 2.91. Ten studies comparing IPT and other psychological treatments showed a nonsignificant differential effect size of 0.04 (95% CI=–0.14 to 0.21; number needed to treat=45.45) favoring IPT. Pharmacotherapy (after removal of one outlier) was more effective than IPT (d=–0.19, 95% CI=–0.38 to –0.01; number needed to treat=9.43), and combination treatment was not more effective than IPT alone, although the paucity of studies precluded drawing definite conclusions. Combination maintenance treatment with pharmacotherapy and IPT was more effective in preventing relapse than pharmacotherapy alone (odds ratio=0.37; 95% CI=0.19 to 0.73; number needed to treat=7.63).

There is no doubt that IPT efficaciously treats depression, both as an independent treatment and in combination with pharmacotherapy. IPT deserves its place in treatment guidelines as one of the most empirically validated treatments for depression.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Mental Health Problems: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis

Cuijpers P, Donker T, Weissman MM et al

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) has been developed for the treatment of depression but has been examined for several other mental disorders. A comprehensive meta-analysis of all randomized trials examining the effects of IPT for all mental health problems was conducted.

Searches in PubMed, PsycInfo, Embase, and Cochrane were conducted to identify all trials examining IPT for any mental health problem.

Ninety studies with 11,434 participants were included. IPT for acute-phase depression had moderate-to-large effects compared with control groups (g=0.60; 95% CI=0.45–0.75). No significant difference was found with other therapies (differential g=0.06) and pharmacotherapy (g=–0.13). Combined treatment was more effective than IPT alone (g=0.24). IPT in subthreshold depression significantly prevented the onset of major depression, and maintenance IPT significantly reduced relapse. IPT had significant effects on eating disorders, but the effects are probably slightly smaller than those of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in the acute phase of treatment. In anxiety disorders, IPT had large effects compared with control groups, and there is no evidence that IPT was less effective than CBT. There was risk of bias as defined by the Cochrane Collaboration in the majority of studies. There was little indication that the presence of bias influenced outcome.

IPT is effective in the acute treatment of depression and may be effective in the prevention of new depressive disorders and in preventing relapse. IPT may also be effective in the treatment of eating disorders and anxiety disorders and has shown promising effects in some other mental health disorders.

Psychotherapy effectiveness for major depression: A randomized trial in a Finnish community

Saloheimo HP, Markowitz J, Saloheimo TH et al

The purpose of this study is to assess the relative effectiveness of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Psychoeducative Group Therapy (PeGT), and treatment as usual (TAU) for patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in municipal psychiatric secondary care in one Finnish region.

All adult patients (N = 1515) with MDD symptoms referred to secondary care in 2004-2006 were screened. Eligible, consenting patients were assigned randomly to 10-week IPT (N = 46), PeGT (N = 42), or TAU (N = 46) treatment arms. Antidepressant pharmacotherapy among study participants was evaluated. The Hamilton Depression Rating scale (HAM-D) was the primary outcome measure. Assessment occurred at 1, 5, 3, 6, and 12 months. Actual amount of therapists’ labor was also evaluated. All statistical analyses were performed with R software.

All three treatment cells showed marked improvement at 12-month follow-up. At 3 months, 42 % in IPT, 61 % in PeGT, and 42 % in TAU showed a mean ≥50 % in HAM-D improvement; after 12 months, these values were 61 %, 76 %, and 68 %.

Concomitant medication and limited sample size minimized between-treatment differences. Statistically significant differences emerged only between PeGT and TAU favoring PeGT. Secondary outcome measures (CGI-s and SOFAS) showed parallel results.

All three treatments notably benefited highly comorbid MDD patients in a public sector secondary care unit.

Clinical effectiveness of cognitive therapy v. interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: results of a randomized controlled trial.

Lemmens LH, Arntz A, Peeters F, Hollon SD, Roefs A, Huibers


Although both cognitive therapy (CT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) have been shown to be effective treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD), it is not clear yet whether one therapy outperforms the other with regard to severity and course of the disorder. This study examined the clinical effectiveness of CT v. IPT in a large sample of depressed patients seeking treatment in a Dutch outpatient mental health clinic. We tested whether one of the treatments was superior to the other at post-treatment and at 5 months follow-up. Furthermore, we tested whether active treatment was superior to no treatment. We also assessed whether initial depression severity moderated the effect of time and condition and tested for therapist differences.


Depressed adults (n = 182) were randomized to either CT (n = 76), IPT (n = 75) or a 2-month waiting list control (WLC) condition (n = 31). Main outcome was depression severity, measured with the Beck Depression Inventory – II (BDI-II), assessed at baseline, 2, 3, and 7 months (treatment phase) and monthly up to 5 months follow-up (8–12 months).


No differential effects between CT and IPT were found. Both treatments exceeded response in the WLC condition, and led to considerable improvement in depression severity that was sustained up to 1 year. Baseline depression severity did not moderate the effect of time and condition.


Within our power and time ranges, CT and IPT appeared not to differ in the treatment of depression in the acute phase and beyond.

A randomized controlled trial of IPT versus CBT in primary care: with some cautionary notes about handling missing values in clinical trials

Power MJ, Freeman C

A randomized controlled trial is reported in which three treatments were compared for the management of depression in Primary Care. The treatments were Treatment As Usual (TAU) carried out by the General Practitioners, Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT) or Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT). Measurements of depressive symptomatology were taken at Baseline (Time1), at end of treatment (Time2), and at 5-month follow-up (Time3). An initial analysis of the longitudinal data revealed that there were a significant number of missing values, especially in the Time3 follow-up for the TAU group. That is, the missing data were not missing at random within the dataset, which is one of the considerations for usual procedures for replacement of missing values (RMV). The paper presents, therefore, the outcome of different approaches to RMV and their consequences for conclusions about the relative efficacy of the treatment conditions. The results showed that clients in all conditions improved significantly, with at least some analyses showing superiority of IPT and CBT at end of treatment Time 2. However, by the follow-up clients in all conditions performed equally well. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Long-term outcomes of acute treatment with cognitive therapy v.interpersonal psychotherapy for adult depression: follow-up of a randomized controlled trial

Lemmens LHJM, van Bronswijk SC, Peeters F et al


Although equally efficacious in the acute phase, it is not known how cognitive therapy (CT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for major depressive disorder (MDD) compare in the long run. This study examined the long-term outcomes of CT v. IPT for MDD.


One hundred thirty-four adult (18–65) depressed outpatients who were treated with CT (n = 69) or IPT (n = 65) in a large open-label randomized controlled trial (parallel group design; computer-generated block randomization) were monitored across a 17-month follow-up phase. Mixed regression was used to determine the course of self-reported depressive symptom severity (Beck Depression Inventory II; BDI-II) after treatment termination, and to test whether CT and IPT differed throughout the follow-up phase. Analyses were conducted for the total sample (n = 134) and for the subsample of treatment responders (n = 85). Furthermore, for treatment responders, rates of relapse and sustained response were examined for self-reported (BDI-II) and clinician-rated (Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation; LIFE) depression using Cox regression.


On average, the symptom reduction achieved during the 7-month treatment phase was maintained across follow-up (7–24 months) for CT and IPT, both in the total sample and in the responder sample. Two-thirds (67%) of the treatment responders did not relapse across the follow-up period on the BDI-II. Relapse rates assessed with the LIFE were somewhat lower. No differential effects between conditions were found.


Patients who responded to IPT were no more likely to relapse following treatment termination than patients who responded to CT. Given that CT appears to have a prophylactic effect following successful treatment, our findings suggest that IPT might have a prophylactic effect as well.

Transduction of psychosocial stress into the neurobiology of recurrent affective disorder

Post RM

Exploring mechanisms of change in cognitive therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy for adult depression

Lemmens LHJM, Galindo-Garre F, Arntz A et al

Comparative Efficacy of Seven Psychotherapeutic Interventions for Patients with Depression. A Network Meta-Analysis

Barth J, Munder T, Gerger H, Nüesch E, Trelle S, Znoj H, Jüni P, Cuijpers P

Social relationship correlates of major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms in Switzerland: nationally representative cross sectional study

Barger SD, Messerli-Bürgy N, Barth J

The quality and quantity of social relationships are associated with depression but there is less evidence regarding which aspects of social relationships are most predictive. We evaluated the relative magnitude and independence of the association of four social relationship domains with major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms.

We analyzed a cross-sectional telephone interview and postal survey of a probability sample of adults living in Switzerland (N = 12,286). Twelve-month major depressive disorder was assessed via structured interview over the telephone using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). The postal survey assessed depressive symptoms as well as variables representing emotional support, tangible support, social integration, and loneliness.

Each individual social relationship domain was associated with both outcome measures, but in multivariate models being lonely and perceiving unmet emotional support had the largest and most consistent associations across depression outcomes (incidence rate ratios ranging from 1.55-9.97 for loneliness and from 1.23-1.40 for unmet support, p’s < 0.05). All social relationship domains except marital status were independently associated with depressive symptoms whereas only loneliness and unmet support were associated with depressive disorder.

Perceived quality and frequency of social relationships are associated with clinical depression and depressive symptoms across a wide adult age spectrum. This study extends prior work linking loneliness to depression by showing that a broad range of social relationship domains are associated with psychological well-being.

Patient interpersonal and cognitive changes and their relation to outcome in interpersonal psychotherapy for depression

Bernecker SL, Constantino MJ, Pazzaglia AM et al

Despite interpersonal psychotherapy's (IPT) efficacy for depression, little is known about its change-promoting ingredients. This exploratory study examined candidate change mechanisms by identifying whether patients’ interpersonal and cognitive characteristics change during IPT and whether such changes relate to outcomes.

Patients were 95 depressed adults receiving manualized IPT. We used multilevel modeling to assess the relation between change in each interpersonal and cognitive domain and outcome.

Across all interpersonal and cognitive variables measured, patients showed significant improvement. Unexpectedly, reduced romantic relationship adjustment was related to posttreatment depression reduction (β = 2.028, p = .008, self-rated; β = 1.474, p = .022, clinician-rated). For the other measured domains, change was not significantly associated with outcome (though changes in some interpersonal variables evidenced a trend-level relation to outcome).

Possible reciprocal influences among IPT, depression, and romantic relationship functioning are discussed, as are implications for future research.

Brief psychotherapy for maternal depression: Impact on mothers and children

Swartz HA, Cyranowski JM, Cheng Y et al

Two-generation studies demonstrate that treating maternal depression benefits school-age children. Although mothers prefer psychotherapy to medication, little is known about how psychotherapy for maternal depression affects offspring, especially in very high-risk families in which both mothers and children concurrently meet syndromal criteria for psychiatric disorders. This trial evaluated the effects of 2 brief psychotherapies for maternal depression on very high-risk families.

Mothers with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to 9 sessions of either brief interpersonal psychotherapy for mothers (IPT-MOMS; n = 85) or brief supportive psychotherapy (BSP; n = 83). Independent assessors evaluated mothers and their children, ages 7 to 18 years, diagnosed with at least 1 internalizing disorder, every 3 months over the course of 1 year.

Symptoms and functioning of mothers and children improved significantly over time, with no between-group differences. However, children of mothers assigned to BSP had more outpatient mental health visits and were more likely to receive antidepressant medication. Mothers reported greater satisfaction with IPT-MOMS than BSP. Improvement in mothers’ depressive symptoms was associated with improvement in child functioning in time-lagged fashion, with children improving 3 to 6 months after mothers improved. Antidepressant medication use and number of mental health visits received by children did not affect outcomes.

IPT-MOMS and BSP demonstrated comparable beneficial effects on maternal depression. Children’s functioning improved following maternal improvement, independent of youths’ treatment. Children of mothers randomized to IPT-MOMS, compared with BSP, achieved comparable outcomes despite less follow-up treatment. Observation of lagged association between maternal improvement and change in child functioning should influence treatment planning for families.

Depression in couples and families

Davila J, Stroud CB, Starr LR

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL. Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014: 410–2991

Depression is associated with significant interpersonal impairment, both as a cause and as a consequence of the disorder. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the context of couple and family relationships. In this chapter, we present an overview of the literature on depression in these contexts, highlight conceptual themes, and provide directions for future research. In addition to the literatures on unipolar depression and depressive symptoms, we review the literature on bipolar disorder, although it is much more limited than the others. The bipolar material is presented separately, but we link it to the other findings, so that readers may see the ways in which the literatures do and do not converge. In one section, we focus on the main processes and components of couple relationships, including how they start, function, and end, and discuss their association with depression. We discuss these associations first among adults, then among adolescents. In another section, we focus on three issues: the association between childhood depression and family functioning, the association between parental depression and family functioning, and the association between family caregiving and depression.

Randomized trial of interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy for major depressive disorder in a community-based psychiatric outpatient clinic

Ekeblad A, Falkenström F, Andersson G et al

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are both evidence-based treatments for major depressive disorder (MDD). Several head-to-head comparisons have been made, mostly in the United States. In this trial, we compared the two treatments in a small-town outpatient psychiatric clinic in Sweden. The patients had failed previous primary care treatment and had extensive Axis-II comorbidity. Outcome measures were reduction of depressive symptoms and attrition rate.

Ninety-six psychiatric patients with MDD (DSM-IV) were randomized to 14 sessions of CBT (n = 48) or IPT (n = 48). A noninferiority design was used with the hypothesis that IPT would be noninferior to CBT. A three-point difference on the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) was used as noninferiority margin.

IPT passed the noninferiority test. In the ITT group, 53.5% (23/43) of the IPT patients and 51.0% (24/47) of the CBT patients were reliably improved, and 20.9% (9/43) and 19.1% (9/47), respectively, were recovered (last BDI score <10). The dropout rate was significantly higher in CBT (40%; 19/47) compared to IPT (19%; 8/43). Statistically controlling for antidepressant medication use did not change the results.

IPT was noninferior to CBT in a sample of depressed psychiatric patients in a community-based outpatient clinic. CBT had significantly more dropouts than IPT, indicating that CBT may be experienced as too demanding. Since about half the patients did not recover, there is a need for further treatment development for these patients. The study should be considered an effectiveness trial, with strong external validity but some limitations in internal validity.

Attachment style as a moderating influence on the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapy for depression: A failure to replicate

Bernecker SL, Constantino MJ, Atkinson LR et al

Research on aptitude-treatment interactions, or patient characteristics that are associated with better outcome in one treatment than another, can help assign patients to the treatments that will be most personally effective. Theory and one past study suggest that adult attachment style might influence whether depressed patients respond better to cognitive–behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Spurred by inconsistency in past aptitude-treatment interaction research in general, as well as concerns about the reproducibility of psychological research, we sought to replicate and extend the previous study that showed that high attachment avoidance was associated with greater depression reduction in CBT than in IPT and to improve upon that study methodologically. Using longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling, the present study examined whether, among 69 adults randomly assigned to CBT or IPT, rate of change in severity of depression symptoms was predicted by treatment condition, attachment style, and their interaction. We also conducted regression analyses to determine whether posttreatment depression was predicted by the same variables. As expected, CBT and IPT were equivalent in efficacy; however, unlike in the previous trial, there were no moderation effects of attachment. Interestingly, in some analyses, anxious attachment was associated with more positive outcomes and avoidant attachment with more negative outcomes across both treatments. The findings highlight the need for researchers to attempt replications of past studies using methods that might elucidate the reasons for discrepancies in results, and they also suggest that alternative approaches to aptitude-treatment interaction research may be more fruitful.

The association between social relationships and depression: A systematic review

Santini ZI, Koyanagi A, Tyrovolas S et al

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders globally and has implications for various aspects of everyday-life. To date, studies assessing the association between social relationships and depression have provided conflicting results. The aim of this paper was to review the evidence on associations between social relationships and depression in the general population.

Studies investigating the association of social support, social networks, or social connectedness with depression were retrieved and summarized (searches using Pubmed, ScienceDirect, PsycNet were conducted in May 2014).

Fifty-one studies were included in this review. The strongest and most consistent findings were significant protective effects of perceived emotional support, perceived instrumental support, and large, diverse social networks. Little evidence was found on whether social connectedness is related to depression, as was also the case for negative interactions.

Due to the strict inclusion criteria relating to study quality and the availability of papers in the domain of interest, the review did not capture ‘gray literature’ and qualitative studies.


Future research is warranted to account for potential bias introduced by the use of subjective measures as compared to objective measures of received support and actual networks. Due to the heterogeneity between available studies on the measure of social relationships, the inclusion of comparable measures across studies would allow for more valid comparisons. In addition, well-designed prospective studies will provide more insight into causality. Future research should address how social support and networks interact and together affect risks for depression. Social connectedness and negative interactions appear to be underutilized as measures in population-based studies.

Interpersonal psychotherapy as add-on for treatment-resistant depression: A pragmatic randomized controlled trial

Souza LH, Salum GA, Mosqueiro B et al

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is an extremely prevalent clinical condition. Although Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) is an established treatment for uncomplicated depression, its effectiveness has never before been studied in patients with TRD in real-world settings. We investigate IPT as an adjunct strategy to treatment as usual (TAU) for TRD patients in a pragmatic, randomized, controlled trial.

A total of 40 adult patients with TRD (satisfying the criteria for major depressive disorder despite adequate antidepressant treatment) were recruited from a tertiary care facility for this pragmatic trial and blinded to the evaluator. Patients were randomized to one of two treatment conditions: (1) TAU – pharmacotherapy freely chosen by the clinician (n=23) and (2) TAU+IPT (n=17). Assessments were performed at weeks 8, 12, 19 and 24. Changes in the estimated means of the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score were the primary outcome measure. Secondary outcomes included patient-rated scales and quality of life scales. We used a linear mixed model to compare changes over time between the two groups.

Both treatments lead to improvements in depressive symptoms from baseline to week 24 with no significant between group differences in either primary: TAU (mean difference: 4.57; CI95%: 0.59–8.55; d=0.73) vs. IPT+TAU (mean difference: 5.86, CI95%: 1.50–10.22; d=0.93) or secondary outcomes.

LimitationsOur relatively small sample limits our ability to detect differences between treatments.

Both treatments lead to equal improvements in depressive symptoms. We found no evidence to support adding IPT to pharmacotherapy in patients with TRD.

Interpersonal Counseling (IPC) for depression in primary care

Weissman MM, Hankerson SH, Scorza P et al

Interpersonal Counseling (IPC) comes directly from interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), an evidenced-based psychotherapy developed by Klerman and Weissman. It [IPC?] is a briefer, more structured version for use primarily in non-mental health settings, such as primary care clinics when treating patients with symptoms of depression. National health-care reform, which will bring previously uninsured persons into care and provide mechanisms to support mental health training of primary care providers, will increase interest in briefer psychotherapy. This paper describes the rationale, development, evidence for efficacy, and basic structure of IPC and also presents an illustrated clinical vignette. The evidence suggests that IPC is efficacious in reducing symptoms of depression; that it can be used by mental health personnel of different levels of training, and that the number of sessions is flexible depending on the context and resources. More clinical trials are needed, especially ones comparing IPC to other types of care used in the delivery of mental health services in primary care.

Interpersonal accuracy of interventions and the outcome of cognitive and interpersonal therapies for depression

Crits-Christoph P, Connolly Gibbons MB, Temes CM et al

Objective: The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the interpersonal accuracy of interventions in cognitive therapy and interpersonal therapy as a predictor of the outcome of treatment for patients with major depressive disorder. Method: The interpersonal accuracy of interventions was rated using transcripts of treatment sessions for 72 patients who were being treated with cognitive or interpersonal therapy for major depressive disorder through the National Institute of Mental Health Treatment of Depression Collaborative Research Program (Elkin et al., 1989). Interpersonal accuracy of interventions was assessed by first identifying core conflictual relationship themes for each patient and then by having judges rate therapist intervention statements for the extent to which each statement addressed each component of the patient-specific interpersonal theme. Results: Using early-in-treatment sessions, statistically significant interactions of interpersonal accuracy of interventions and treatment group in relation to outcome were evident. These findings included significant interactions of treatment group with accuracy of interventions in the prediction of subsequent change of depressive symptoms and social adjustment from Week 4 to Week 16, with higher levels of interpersonal accuracy associated with relatively poorer outcomes for patients receiving cognitive therapy but relatively better outcomes for patients in interpersonal therapy. Conclusion: The process of interpersonal and cognitive therapies may differ in important ways. Accurately addressing interpersonal themes may be particularly important to the process of interpersonal therapy but not cognitive therapy.

Effectiveness of an intervention led by lay health counsellors for depressive and anxiety disorders in primary care in Goa, India (MANAS): a cluster randomised controlled trial

Patel V, Weiss HA, Chowdhary N et al

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders worldwide. The MANAS trial aimed to test the effectiveness of an intervention led by lay health counsellors in primary care settings to improve outcomes of people with these disorders.

In this cluster randomised trial, primary care facilities in Goa, India, were assigned (1:1) by computer-generated randomised sequence to intervention or control (enhanced usual care) groups. All adults who screened positive for common mental disorders were eligible. The collaborative stepped-care intervention offered case management and psychosocial interventions, provided by a trained lay health counsellor, supplemented by antidepressant drugs by the primary care physician and supervision by a mental health specialist. The research assessor was masked. The primary outcome was recovery from common mental disorders as defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems—10th revision (ICD-10) at 6 months. This study is registered with, number NCT00446407.

24 study clusters, with an equal proportion of public and private facilities, were randomised equally between groups. 1160 of 1360 (85%) patients in the intervention group and 1269 of 1436 (88%) in the control group completed the outcome assessment. Patients with ICD-10-confirmed common mental disorders in the intervention group were more likely to have recovered at 6 months than were those in the control group (n=620 [65·0%] vs 553 [52·9%]; risk ratio 1·22, 95% CI 1·00–1·47; risk difference=12·1%, 95% CI 1·6%–22·5%). The intervention had strong evidence of an effect in public facility attenders (369 [65·9%] vs 267 [42·5%], risk ratio 1·55, 95% CI 1·02–2·35) but no evidence for an effect in private facility attenders (251 [64·1%] vs 286 [65·9%], risk ratio 0·95, 0·74–1·22). There were three deaths and four suicide attempts in the collaborative stepped-care group and six deaths and six suicide attempts in the enhanced usual care group. None of the deaths were from suicide.

A trained lay counsellor-led collaborative care intervention can lead to an improvement in recovery from CMD among patients attending public primary care facilities.

Moderators of remission with interpersonal counselling or drug treatment in primary care patients with depression: randomised controlled trial

Menchetti M, Rucci P, Bortolotti B et al. The DEPICS Group


Despite depressive disorders being very common there has been little research to guide primary care physicians on the choice of treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression.


To evaluate the efficacy of interpersonal counselling compared with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), in primary care attenders with major depression and to identify moderators of treatment outcome.


A randomised controlled trial in nine centres (DEPICS, Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number: ACTRN12608000479303). The primary outcome was remission of the depressive episode (defined as a Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression score 7 at 2 months). Daily functioning was assessed using the Work and Social Adjustment Scale. Logistic regression models were used to identify moderators of treatment outcome.


The percentage of patients who achieved remission at 2 months was significantly higher in the interpersonal counselling group compared with the SSRI group (58.7% v. 45.1%, P = 0.021). Five moderators of treatment outcome were found: depression severity, functional impairment, anxiety comorbidity, previous depressive episodes and smoking habit.


We identified some patient characteristics predicting a differential outcome with pharmacological and psychological interventions. Should our results be confirmed in future studies, these characteristics will help clinicians to define criteria for first-line treatment of depression targeted to patients characteristics.

Tele-Interpersonal Psychotherapy Acutely Reduces Depressive Symptoms in Depressed HIV-Infected Rural Persons: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Heckman TG, Heckman BD, Anderson T et al

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive rural individuals carry a 1.3-times greater risk of a depressive diagnosis than their urban counterparts. This randomized clinical trial tested whether telephone-administered interpersonal psychotherapy (tele-IPT) acutely relieved depressive symptoms in 132 HIV-infected rural persons from 28 states diagnosed with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV major depressive disorder (MDD), partially remitted MDD, or dysthymic disorder. Patients were randomized to either 9 sessions of one-on-one tele-IPT (n = 70) or standard care (SC; n = 62). A series of intent-to-treat (ITT), therapy completer, and sensitivity analyses assessed changes in depressive symptoms, interpersonal problems, and social support from pre- to postintervention. Across all analyses, tele-IPT patients reported significantly lower depressive symptoms and interpersonal problems than SC controls; 22% of tele-IPT patients were categorized as a priori “responders” who reported 50% or higher reductions in depressive symptoms compared to only 4% of SC controls in ITT analyses. Brief tele-IPT acutely decreased depressive symptoms and interpersonal problems in depressed rural people living with HIV.

Therapeutic alliance, subsequent change, and moderators of the alliance-outcome association in interpersonal psychotherapy for depression

Constantino MJ, Coyne AE, Luukko EK et al

The therapeutic alliance has historically emerged as a pantheoretical correlate of favorable psychotherapy outcomes. However, uncertainty remains about the direction of the alliance–outcome link, and whether it is affected by other contextual variables. The present study explored (a) if early alliance quality predicted subsequent symptom change while controlling for the effect of prior symptom change in interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for depression, and (b) whether baseline patient characteristics moderated the alliance–outcome relation (to help specify conditions under which alliance predicts change). Data derived from an open trial of 16 sessions of individual IPT delivered naturalistically to adult outpatients (N = 119) meeting criteria for major depression. Patients rated their sociodemographic, clinical, and interpersonal characteristics at baseline, their alliance with their therapist at Session 3, and their depressive symptoms at baseline, after every session, and at posttreatment. Data were analyzed using hierarchical linear modeling. Results indicated that alliance quality did not predict subsequent depression change, controlling for prior depression change. However, a significant education by alliance interaction emerged in predicting quadratic depression change (γ = .0007, p = .03); patients with higher levels of education who reported good early alliances with their therapists had the most positively accelerated change trajectory (i.e., faster depression reduction), whereas patients with higher levels of education who reported poorer early alliances had the most negatively accelerated change trajectory (i.e., slower depression reduction). The findings may help clarify a specific condition under which alliance quality influences subsequent improvement in an evidence-based treatment for depression.

Brief interpersonal psychotherapy for depression during pregnancy in a low-income population: a randomized controlled trial

Lenze SN, Potts MA

Depression is common in low-income pregnant women, and treatments need to be fitted to meet their needs. We conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing brief Interpersonal Psychotherapy (brief-IPT) to enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU) for perinatal depression in low-income women. The brief-IPT model is designed to better engage low-income women by utilizing an engagement session, providing flexible delivery of sessions, and pragmatic case management.

Pregnant women, aged ≥18, between 12 and 30 weeks gestation were recruited from an urban prenatal clinic. Women scoring ≥10 on the Edinburgh Depression Scale and meeting depressive disorder criteria were randomized to either brief-IPT (n=21) or ETAU (n=21). We assessed treatment outcomes, acceptability, and feasibility of the intervention (measured by session attendance).

Depression scores significantly decreased in both brief-IPT and ETAU. Brief-IPT participants reported significant improvements in social support satisfaction as compared to ETAU participants, even after controlling for concurrent depressive symptoms. Brief-IPT participants reported high satisfaction with the program. However, many participants did not participate in the full 9-session course of treatment (average sessions attended =6, range 0–17).

Small sample size, use of self-report measures, and lack of an active psychotherapy control group limits interpretation of study results.

Brief-IPT for perinatal depression is acceptable to low-income women and is helpful for improving depressive symptoms and social support. However, feasibility of the treatment was limited by relatively low session attendance in spite of efforts to maximize treatment engagement. Additional modifications to meet the needs of low-income women are discussed.

Trajectories of long-term outcomes for postnatally depressed mothers treated with group interpersonal psychotherapy

Reay RE, Owen C, Shadbolt B, et al

There is evidence that psychological treatments for postnatal depression are effective in the short-term; however, whether the effects are enduring over time remains an important empirical question. The aim of this study was to investigate the depressive symptoms and interpersonal functioning of participants in a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of group interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-G) at 2 years posttreatment. The study also examined long-term trajectories, such as whether participants maintained their recovery status, achieved later recovery, recurrence or persistent symptoms. Approximately 2 years posttreatment, all women in the original RCT (N = 50) were invited to participate in a mailed follow-up. A repeated measures analysis of variance assessed differences between the treatment and control conditions on depression and interpersonal scores across five measurement occasions: baseline, mid-treatment, end of treatment and 3-month and 2-year follow-up. Chi-square tests were used to analyse the percentage of participants in the four recovery categories. Mothers who received IPT-G improved more rapidly in the short-term and were less likely to develop persistent depressive symptoms in the long-term. Fifty seven percent of IPT-G mothers maintained their recovery over the follow-up period. Overall, IPT-G participants were significantly less likely to require follow-up treatment. Limitations include the use of self-report questionnaires to classify recovery. The positive finding that fewer women in the group condition experienced a persistent course of depression highlights its possible enduring effects after treatment discontinuation. Further research is needed to improve our long-term management of postnatal depression for individuals who are vulnerable to a recurrent or chronic trajectory.

The social environment and depression: The roles of life stress

Monroe SM, Slavich GM, Georgiades K

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL. Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014: 296-315

Patients, clinicians, researchers, and the general public commonly assume that depression is inexorably intertwined with the material and social worlds of the person with depression. There can be little doubt that when bad things happen, people become distressed and unhappy. When very bad things happen, some people become clinically depressed. Once a person has developed depression, his or her social and material worlds are altered, often in adverse ways that compound and perpetuate the original problem, outlast the depressive episode, and perhaps contribute to future recurrences of the disorder. A better understanding of depression, its origins and long-term course, requires enlarging the scope of inquiry to take into account the interplay of social-environmental factors and life stress with depression over the course of an episode, as well as over the lifetime of the individual. We begin this chapter with an overview of issues involving concepts and measures of life stress. This discussion provides a platform from which we then review research that addresses how life stress relates to onset of depression and subsequently how life stress is associated with the clinical course, lifetime course, and heterogeneity of depression. We focus on key theoretical debates, unresolved issues, and empirical gaps, along with the methodological implications for research on life stress and depression. We conclude with a discussion of directions for future research.

Childhood maltreatment and characteristics of adult depression: meta-analysis

Nelson J, Klumparendt A, Doebler P Ehring T


Childhood maltreatment has been discussed as a risk factor for the development and maintenance of depression.


To examine the relationship between childhood maltreatment and adult depression with regard to depression incidence, severity, age at onset, course of illness and treatment response.

MethodWe conducted meta-analyses of original articles reporting an association between childhood maltreatment and depression outcomes in adult populations.


In total, 184 studies met inclusion criteria. Nearly half of patients with depression reported a history of childhood maltreatment. Maltreated individuals were 2.66 (95% CI 2.38–2.98) to 3.73 (95% CI 2.88–4.83) times more likely to develop depression in adulthood, had an earlier depression onset and were twice as likely to develop chronic or treatment-resistant depression. Depression severity was most prominently linked to childhood emotional maltreatment.


Childhood maltreatment, especially emotional abuse and neglect, represents a risk factor for severe, early-onset, treatment-resistant depression with a chronic course.

Attachment as moderator of treatment outcome in major depression: A randomized control trial of interpersonal psychotherapy versus cognitive behavior therapy

McBride C, Atkinson L, Quilty LC et al

Anxiety and avoidance dimensions of adult attachment insecurity were tested as moderators of treatment outcome for interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT). Fifty-six participants with major depression were randomly assigned to these treatment conditions. Beck Depression Inventory-II, Six-Item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression scores, and remission status served as outcome measures. Patients higher on attachment avoidance showed significantly greater reduction in depression severity and greater likelihood of symptom remission with CBT as compared with IPT, even after controlling for obsessive-compulsive and avoidant personality disorder symptoms. Results were replicated across treatment completers and intent-to-treat samples. These results suggest that it is important to consider the interaction between attachment insecurity and treatment type when comparing efficacy of treatments.

The efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy for depression among economically disadvantaged mothers

Toth SL, Rogosch FA, Oshri A et al

A randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for ethnically and racially diverse, economically disadvantaged women with major depressive disorder. Non-treatment-seeking urban women (N = 128; M age = 25.40, SD = 4.98) with infants were recruited from the community. Participants were at or below the poverty level: 59.4% were Black and 21.1% were Hispanic. Women were screened for depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale; the Diagnostic Interview Schedule was used to confirm major depressive disorder diagnosis. Participants were randomized to individual IPT or enhanced community standard. Depressive symptoms were assessed before, after, and 8 months posttreatment with the Beck Depression Inventory—II and the Revised Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. The Social Support Behaviors Scale, the Social Adjustment Scale—Self-Report, and the Perceived Stress Scale were administered to examine mediators of outcome at follow-up. Treatment effects were evaluated with a growth mixture model for randomized trials using complier-average causal effect estimation. Depressive symptoms trajectories from baseline through postintervention to follow-up showed significant decreases among the IPT group compared to the enhanced community standard group. Changes on the Perceived Stress Scale and the Social Support Behaviors Scale mediated sustained treatment outcome.

The relationship between social support networks and depression in the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being

Werner-Seidler A, Afzali MH, Chaoman C, Sunderland M, Slade T

Social isolation and low levels of social support are associated with depression. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the relationship between depression and social connectivity factors (frequency of contact and quality of social connections) in the 2007 Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-being.

A national survey of 8841 participants aged 16–85 years was conducted. Logistic regression was used to investigate the relationship between social connectivity factors and 12-month prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder in the whole sample, as well as across three age groups: younger adults (16–34 years), middle-aged adults (35–54 years), and older adults (55+ years). Respondents indicated how often they were in contact with family members and friends (frequency of contact), and how many family and friends they could rely on and confide in (quality of support), and were assessed for Major Depressive Disorder using the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostics Interview.

Overall, higher social connection quality was more closely and consistently associated with lower odds of the past year depression, relative to frequency of social interaction. The exception to this was for the older group in which fewer than a single friendship interaction each month was associated with a two-fold increased likelihood of the past year depression (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.14–4.25). Friendship networks were important throughout life, although in middle adulthood, family support was also critically important—those who did not have any family support had more than a three-fold increased odds of the past year depression (OR 3.47, 95% CI 2.07–5.85).

High-quality social connection with friends and family members is associated with reduced likelihood of the past year depression. Intervention studies that target the quality of social support for depression, particularly support from friends, are warranted.

Interpersonal psychotherapy versus treatment as usual for major depression related to work stress: A pilot randomized controlled study

Schramm E, Mack S, Thiel N et al

Background: Depressive disorders are among the leading causes of sick leave and long-term work incapacity in most modern countries. Work related stress is described by patients as the most common context of depression. It is vital to know what types of treatments are effective in improving work related problems and occupational health. However, there is only limited evidence on work-focused interventions.

Methods: The aim of our study was to evaluate the feasibility and generate first data on the effectiveness of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) adapted as a group program to focus on the work context (W-IPT). In total, 28 outpatients (22 women; M = 49.8 years old) with Major Depressive Disorder related to work stress were randomized to 8 weekly group sessions of W-IPT or to treatment as usual (TAU; guideline oriented treatment). Primary endpoint was the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD-24) score. Key secondary endpoints were, among others, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), Work Ability Index (WAI), Return to Work Attitude (RTW-SE), and the Effort-Reward-Imbalance (ERI). In addition, we evaluated the participants' overall satisfaction with the W-IPT program by two items. A follow-up assessment was conducted 3 months after end of acute treatment.

Results: W-IPT was significantly more effective than TAU in reducing clinician-assessed depressive symptoms at follow-up (HRSD-24 W-IPT/TAU: M = 6.6/12.0, SE: 1.46/2.17, t(df = 1) = −2.24, p = 0.035, d = 0.79) and self-assessed depression (BDI-II W-IPT/TAU post-treatment: M = 8.8/18.8, SE: 1.69/2.70, t(df = 1) = −3.82, p = 0.001, d = 1.28; follow-up: M = 8.8/16.1, SE: 1.62/2.26, t(df = 1) = −2.62, p = 0.015, d = 0.99). Furthermore, W-IPT was superior in improving work-ability (WAI), return-to-work attitude (RTW-SE), and the effort-reward-ratio (ERI). No dropouts were observed in both groups. The vast majority (89 percent) of participants in the W-IPT condition were “very satisfied” with the program, although wishing for a greater number of sessions (75 percent).

Conclusions: A work-focused IPT program for the treatment of depression associated to work stress was feasible and highly acceptable. W-IPT turned out to be more effective than standard treatment in reducing depression and work-related problems. However, further evidence in a multicenter trial extending this pilot study is necessary.

Cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy versus interpersonal psychotherapy for early-onset chronic depression: A randomized pilot study

Schramm E, Zobel I, Dykierek P et al

The only psychotherapy specifically designed and evaluated for the treatment of chronic depression, the Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), has never been directly compared to another depression-specific psychological method.

Thirty patients with early-onset chronic depression were randomized to 22 sessions of CBASP or Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) provided in 16 weeks. Primary outcome was the score on the 24-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) assessed posttreatment by an independent blinded evaluator. Secondary endpoints were, among others, remission (HRSD ≤ 8) rates and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The study included a prospective naturalistic 12-month follow-up.

Intent-to-treat analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that there was no significant difference in posttreatment HRSD scores between the CBASP and the IPT condition, but in self-rated BDI scores. We found significantly higher remission rates in the CBASP (57%) as compared to the IPT (20%) group. One year posttreatment, no significant differences were found in the self-reported symptom level (BDI) using ANCOVA.

The study used only a small sample size and no placebo control. The generalizability of the results may be limited to patients with a preference for psychological treatment.

While the primary outcome was not significant, secondary measures showed relevant benefits of CBASP over IPT. We found preliminary evidence that in early-onset chronic depression, an approach specifically designed for this patient population was superior to a method originally developed for the treatment of acute depressive episodes. Long-term results suggest that chronically depressed patients may need extended treatment courses.

Early adverse experiences and depression

Goodman SH, Lusby CM

  • Abstract
  • In: Gotlib IH, Hammen CL. Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014: 220–39

Researchers and clinicians have long considered early adverse experiences as having potentially great etiological significance in the development of depression. In this chapter, we take a developmental psychopathology perspective to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge and ongoing issues in the understanding of associations between early adverse experiences and depression, with the aims of informing etiological mechanisms, revealing modifiable mechanisms of transmission, and clarifying for whom the associations are strongest. In addressing these aims, we emphasize timing of exposures and take into consideration biological systems, the attachment system, cognitive diathesis, and emotion, as well as potential additive or interacting or transactional influences among such systems.

Children of parents with depression

Gotlib IH, Colich NL

  • Abstract
  • In: Handbook of depression. New York: Guilford Press 2014; 240-259

In this chapter we operationalize familial risk for depression as having at least one parent with a clinical diagnosis of depression during the child's lifetime. We briefly review the impact of parental depression on the functioning of young children and adolescents and then discuss psychobiological mechanisms that may underlie risk for depression in these offspring. Given estimates that the heritability of depression is 37%, it is likely that the transmission of risk for MDD involves more than a genetic predisposition to developing depression. In this context, therefore, we discuss both biological factors that may increase susceptibility to depression (including dysfunctional regulatory mechanisms that influence emotion regulation and stress reactivity) and psychological and social factors that may contribute to the familial transmission of risk for depression (including stressful family environments and cognitive vulnerabilities such as negative information-processing biases). Before we begin, there are several methodological issues that should be considered in examining research on the intergenerational transmission of risk for depression. Perhaps most important, it is clear that there are bidirectional effects of parent and child psychopathology. Thus, in order to understand the developmental progression of risk for depression, it is important that researchers study samples of offspring of parents with depression before the children experience their first episode of diagnosable psychopathology. As we discuss, some studies include offspring who have already experienced an episode of MDD; indeed, in the absence of a comprehensive assessment of the history of parental MDD, it is possible that depression in the child led to or exacerbated depression in the parent. Clearly, long-term longitudinal studies are required to characterize the causal nature of the relation between parental depression and child psychopathology, as well as the trajectory of the development of MDD in the offspring of parents with depression.   

Depression im Kindes- & Jugendalter

Efficacy and acceptability of interpersonal psychotherapy for depression in adolescents: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Pu J, Zhou X, Liu L et al

In this study, we evaluate the efficacy and safety of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) for adolescents with depression. We searched our existing database and electronic databases, including PubMed, Cochrane, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases (from inception to May 2016). We included randomized controlled trials comparing IPT with various control conditions, including waitlist, psychological placebo, treatment as usual, and no treatment, in adolescents with depression. Finally, we selected seven studies comprising 538 participants comparing IPT with three different control conditions. Pooled analyses suggested that IPT was significantly more effective than control conditions in reducing depressive symptoms at post-treatment and follow-up, and increasing the response/remission rate at post-treatment. IPT was also superior to control conditions for all-cause discontinuation and quality of life/functioning improvement outcomes. However, there was no evidence that IPT reduces the risk of suicide from these data. Meta-analysis demonstrated publication bias for primary efficacy, while the adjusted standardized mean difference using the trim-and-fill method indicated IPT was still significantly superior to the control conditions. Current evidence indicates IPT has a superior efficacy and acceptability compared with control conditions in treating adolescents with depression.

The course of major depressive disorder from childhood to young adulthood: Recovery and recurrence in a longitudinal observational study

Kovacs M, Obrosky S, George C

The episodic nature of major depressive disorder (MDD) in clinically referred adults has been well-characterized, particularly by the NIMH Collaborative Depression Study. Previous work has established that MDD also is episodic prior to adulthood, but no study has yet provided comprehensive information on the actual course of MDD in clinically referred juveniles. Thus, the present investigation sought to characterize recovery, recurrence, and their predictors across multiple episodes of MDD in initially 8- to 13-year-old outpatients (N=102), and to estimate freedom from morbidity (“well-time”) across the years.

Clinically referred youngsters with MDD were repeatedly assessed in an observational study across two decades (median follow up length: 15 years). Survival analytic techniques served to model recovery from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lifetime episodes of MDD, the risk of developing the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th episodes, and the effects of traditional psychosocial and clinical predictors of outcomes. “Well-time” across the follow-up and its predictors also were examined.

Recovery rates ranged from 96% to 100% across MDD episodes; episode lengths ranged from 6 to 7 months. Up to 72% of those recovered from the first episode of MDD had a further episode; median inter-episode intervals were about 3–5 years. No single demographic, social, or clinical variable, nor treatment, consistently predicted recovery/recurrence. Psychiatric morbidity over time derived mostly from non-affective disorders, which, however, did not alter the course of MDD.

The sample was relatively small and power to detect small effects further declined with each MDD episode recurrence.

Echoing findings on adults, the course of pediatric-onset MDD in this clinical sample was unequivocally episodic. Traditional course predictors had limited temporal stability, highlighting the need to examine novel predictor variables. The ongoing risk of depression episodes into the second and third decades of life suggests that prevention efforts should start in late childhood.

Interpersonal therapy for depressed adolescents

Mufson L, Pollack Dorta K, Moreau D, Weissman MM

  • New York: Guilford Press 2011

Comparative efficacy and acceptability of psycho-therapies for depression in children and adolescents: A systematic review and network meta-analysis

Zhou X, Hetrick SE, Cuijpers P et al

Previous meta-analyses of psychotherapies for child and adolescent depression were limited because of the small number of trials with direct comparisons between two treatments. A network meta-analysis, a novel approach that integrates direct and indirect evidence from randomized controlled studies, was undertaken to investigate the comparative efficacy and acceptability of psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents. Systematic searches resulted in 52 studies (total N=3805) of nine psychotherapies and four control conditions. We assessed the efficacy at post-treatment and at follow-up, as well as the acceptability (all-cause discontinuation) of psychotherapies and control conditions. At post-treatment, only interpersonal therapy (IPT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) were significantly more effective than most control conditions (standardized mean differences, SMDs ranged from −0.47 to −0.96). Also, IPT and CBT were more beneficial than play therapy. Only psychodynamic therapy and play therapy were not significantly superior to waitlist. At follow-up, IPT and CBT were significantly more effective than most control conditions (SMDs ranged from −0.26 to −1.05), although only IPT retained this superiority at both short-term and long-term follow-up. In addition, IPT and CBT were more beneficial than problem-solving therapy. Waitlist was significantly inferior to other control conditions. With regard to acceptability, IPT and problem-solving therapy had significantly fewer all-cause discontinuations than cognitive therapy and CBT (ORs ranged from 0.06 to 0.33). These data suggest that IPT and CBT should be considered as the best available psychotherapies for depression in children and adolescents. However, several alternative psychotherapies are understudied in this age group. Waitlist may inflate the effect of psychotherapies, so that psychological placebo or treatment-as-usual may be preferable as a control condition in psychotherapy trials.

Parental factors associated with childhood anxiety, depression, and internalizing problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Yap MBH, Jorm AF

There is a burgeoning and varied literature examining the associations between parental factors and depression or anxiety disorders in children. However, there is hitherto no systematic review of this complex literature with a focus on the 5–11 years age range, when there is a steep increase in onset of these disorders. Furthermore, to facilitate the application of the evidence in prevention, a focus on modifiable factors is required.

Employing the PRISMA method, we conducted a systematic review of parental factors associated with anxiety, depression, and internalizing problems in children which parents can potentially modify.

We identified 141 articles altogether, with 53 examining anxiety, 50 examining depression, and 70 examining internalizing outcomes. Stouffer׳s method of combining p-values was used to determine whether associations between variables were reliable, and meta-analyses were conducted with a subset of eligible studies to estimate the mean effect sizes of associations between each parental factor and outcome.

Limitations include sacrificing micro-level detail for a macro-level synthesis of the literature, the lack of generalizability across cultures, and the inability to conduct a meta-analysis on all included studies.

Parental factors with a sound evidence base indicating increased risk for both depression and internalizing problems include more inter-parental conflict and aversiveness; and for internalizing outcomes additionally, they include less warmth and more abusive parenting and over-involvement. No sound evidence linking any parental factor with anxiety outcomes was found.

Depression im Alter

Treating depression to remission in older adults: a controlled evaluation of combined escitalopram with interpersonal psychotherapy versus escitalopram with depression care management

Reynolds CF, Dew MA,Martire LM et al

More than half of the older adults respond only partially to first-line antidepressant pharmacotherapy. Our objective was to test the hypothesis that a depression-specific psychotherapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), when used adjunctively with escitalopram, would lead to a higher rate of remission and faster resolution of symptoms in partial responders than escitalopram with depression care management (DCM).

We conducted a 16-week randomized clinical trial of IPT and DCM in partial responders to escitalopram, enrolling 124 outpatients aged 60 and older. The primary outcome, remission, was defined as three consecutive weekly scores of 7 or less on the Hamilton rating scale for depression (17-item). We conducted Cox regression analyses of time to remission and logistic modeling for rates of remission. We tested group differences in Hamilton depression ratings over time via mixed-effects modeling.

Remission rates for escitalopram with IPT and with DCM were similar in intention-to-treat (IPT vs. DCM: 58 [95% CI: 46, 71] vs. 45% [33,58]; p = 0.14) and completer analyses (IPT vs. DCM: 58% [95% CI: 44,72] vs. 43% [30,57]; p = 0.20). Rapidity of symptom improvement did not differ in the two treatments.

No added advantage of IPT over DCM was shown. DCM is a clinically useful strategy to achieve full remission in about 50% of partial responders.

Treatment of complicated grief in elderly persons: A randomized controlled trial

Shear K, Wang Y, ,Skritskaya N et al

Importance Complicated grief (CG) is a debilitating condition, most prevalent in elderly persons. However, to our knowledge, no full-scale randomized clinical trial has studied CG in this population.

Objective  To determine whether complicated grief treatment (CGT) produces greater improvement in CG and depressive symptoms than grief-focused interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized clinical trial enrolling 151 individuals 50 years or older (mean [SD] age, 66.1 [8.9] years) scoring at least 30 on the Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG). Participants were recruited from the New York metropolitan area from August 20, 2008, through January 7, 2013, and randomized to receive CGT or IPT. The main outcome was assessed at 20 weeks after baseline, with interim measures collected at 8, 12, and 16 weeks after baseline.

Interventions Sixteen sessions of CGT (n = 74) or IPT (n = 77) delivered approximately weekly.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Rate of treatment response, defined as a rating from an independent evaluator of much or very much improved on the Improvement subscale of the Clinical Global Impression Scale.

Results Both treatments produced improvement in CG symptoms. Response rate for CGT (52 individuals [70.5%]) was more than twice that for IPT (24 [32.0%]) (relative risk, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.51-3.22]; P < .001), with the number needed to treat at 2.56. Secondary analyses of CG severity and CG symptom and impairment questionnaire measures confirmed that CGT conferred a significantly greater change in illness severity (22 individuals [35.2%] in the CGT group vs 41 [64.1%] in the IPT group were still at least moderately ill [P = .001]), rate of CG symptom reduction (1.05 ICG points per week for CGT vs 0.75 points per week for IPT [t633 = 3.85; P < .001]), and the rate of improvement in CG impairment (0.63 work and Social Adjustment Scale points per week with CGT and 0.39 points per week with IPT [t503 = 2.87; P = .004]). Results were not moderated by participant age.

Conclusions and Relevance  Complicated grief treatment produced clinically and statistically significantly greater response rates for CG symptoms than a proven efficacious treatment for depression (IPT). Results strongly support the need for physicians and other health care providers to distinguish CG from depression. Given the growing elderly population, the high prevalence of bereavement in aging individuals, and the marked physical and psychological impact of CG, clinicians need to know how to treat CG in older adults.


A transdiagnostic comparison of enhanced cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-E) and interpersonal psychotherapy in the treatment of eating disorders

Fairburn CG, Bailey-Straebler S, Basden S et al

Eating disorders may be viewed from a transdiagnostic perspective and there is evidence supporting a transdiagnostic form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT-E). The aim of the present study was to compare CBT-E with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), a leading alternative treatment for adults with an eating disorder. One hundred and thirty patients with any form of eating disorder (body mass index >17.5 to <40.0) were randomized to either CBT-E or IPT. Both treatments involved 20 sessions over 20 weeks followed by a 60-week closed follow-up period. Outcome was measured by independent blinded assessors. Twenty-nine participants (22.3%) did not complete treatment or were withdrawn. At post-treatment 65.5% of the CBT-E participants met criteria for remission compared with 33.3% of the IPT participants (p < 0.001). Over follow-up the proportion of participants meeting criteria for remission increased, particularly in the IPT condition, but the CBT-E remission rate remained higher (CBT-E 69.4%, IPT 49.0%; p = 0.028). The response to CBT-E was very similar to that observed in an earlier study. The findings indicate that CBT-E is potent treatment for the majority of outpatients with an eating disorder. IPT remains an alternative to CBT-E, but the response is less pronounced and slower to be expressed.

Excess weight gain prevention in adolescents: three-year outcome following a randomized controlled trial

Tanofsky-Kraff M, Shomaker LB, Wilfley DE et al

Objective: Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) prevents weight gain in adults with obesity and binge-eating-disorder, and is especially effective among those with increased psychosocial problems. However, IPT was not superior to health education (HE) to prevent excess weight gain at 1-year follow-up in 113 adolescent girls at high-risk for excess weight gain because of loss-of-control eating and high body mass index (BMI; kg/m2; Tanofsky-Kraff et al., 2014).

Method: Participants from the original trial were recontacted 3 years later for assessment. At baseline, adolescent- and parent-reported social-adjustment problems and trait anxiety were evaluated. At baseline and follow-ups, BMIz and adiposity by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry were obtained.

Results: Nearly 60% were reassessed at 3 years, with no group differences in participation (ps ≥ .70). Consistent with 1 year, there was no main effect of group on change in BMIz/adiposity (ps ≥ .18). In exploratory analyses, baseline social-adjustment problems and trait-anxiety moderated outcome (ps < .01). Among girls with high self-reported baseline social-adjustment problems or anxiety, IPT, compared to HE, was associated with the steepest declines in BMIz (p < .001). For adiposity, girls with high or low anxiety in HE and girls with low anxiety in IPT experienced gains (ps ≤ .03), while girls in IPT with high anxiety stabilized. Parent-reports yielded complementary findings.

Conclusion: In obesity-prone adolescent girls, IPT was not superior to HE in preventing excess weight gain at 3 years. Consistent with theory, exploratory analyses suggested that IPT was associated with improvements in BMIz over 3 years among youth with high social-adjustment problems or trait anxiety. Future studies should test the efficacy of IPT for obesity prevention among at-risk girls with social-adjustment problems and/or anxiety.

Effect of adapted interpersonal psychotherapy versus health education on mood and eating in the laboratory among adolescent girls with loss of control eating

Tanofsky-Kraff M, Crosby RD, Vannucci A et al

Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is aimed at improving negative affect that is purported to contribute to the development and maintenance of loss-of-control (LOC) eating. Although youth who report LOC over eating tend to consume more snack-foods than those without LOC, it is unknown if IPT impacts objective energy intake.

To test if IPT improves mood and eating in the laboratory, we examined a sample of 88 girls with LOC eating who were randomized to either IPT (n = 46) or a standard-of-care health education (HE) group program. At baseline, and 6-month (follow-up 1) and 1-year (follow-up 2) following the initiation of the groups, girls consumed lunch from a multi-item meal with an instruction designed to model a LOC episode. Girls also reported mood state immediately before each meal.


Girls in IPT experienced no significant changes in pre-meal state depressive affect, while girls in HE experienced a non-significant improvement by follow-up 1 and then returned to baseline by follow-up 2 (p < .04). We found no significant group difference for changes in total intake relative to girls' daily energy needs (p's ≥ .25). However, IPT reduced, while HE increased, the percentage of daily energy needs consumed from snack-foods by follow-up 2 (p = .04). Within-groups, HE increased their snack food intake from follow-up 1 to follow-up 2 (p = .01).

In adolescent girls with LOC, IPT did not change total intake at the test meal and was associated with reduced snack-food intake. Data are required to determine if IPT effectively prevents excess weight gain in the longer-term.

Psychological treatments of binge eating disorder

Wilson GT, Wilfley D, Agras W et al

Context Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is an effective specialty treatment for binge eating disorder (BED). Behavioral weight loss treatment (BWL) and guided self-help based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBTgsh) have both resulted in short-term reductions in binge eating in obese patients with BED.

Objective  To test whether patients with BED require specialty therapy beyond BWL and whether IPT is more effective than either BWL or CBTgsh in patients with a high negative affect during a 2-year follow-up.

Design  Randomized, active control efficacy trial.

Setting University outpatient clinics.

Participants  Two hundred five women and men with a body mass index between 27 and 45 who met DSM-IV criteria for BED.

Intervention  Twenty sessions of IPT or BWL or 10 sessions of CBTgsh during 6 months.

Main Outcome Measures  Binge eating assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination.

Results  At 2-year follow-up, both IPT and CBTgsh resulted in greater remission from binge eating than BWL (P < .05; odds ratios: BWL vs CBTgsh, 2.3; BWL vs IPT, 2.6; and CBTgsh vs IPT, 1.2). Self-esteem (P < .05) and global Eating Disorder Examination (P < .05) scores were moderators of treatment outcome. The odds ratios for low and high global Eating Disorder Examination scores were 2.8 for BWL, 2.9 for CBTgsh, and 0.73 for IPT; for self-esteem, they were 2.4 for BWL, 1.9 for CBTgsh, and 0.9 for IPT.

Conclusions Interpersonal psychotherapy and CBTgsh are significantly more effective than BWL in eliminating binge eating after 2 years. Guided self-help based on cognitive behavior therapy is a first-line treatment option for most patients with BED, with IPT (or full cognitive behavior therapy) used for patients with low self-esteem and high eating disorder psychopathology.

Bipolare Störungen

Psychotherapy Alone and Combined With Medication as Treatments for Bipolar II Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Swartz HA, Rucci P, Thase M et al

Objective: Bipolar II disorder (BP-II) is associated with marked morbidity and mortality. Quetiapine, the treatment with greatest evidence for efficacy in BP-II depression, is associated with metabolic burden. Psychotherapy, a treatment with few side effects, has not been systematically evaluated in BP-II. This study compared psychotherapy plus placebo to psychotherapy plus pharmacotherapy as treatments for BP-II depression.

Methods: From 2010 to 2015, unmedicated adults (n = 92) with DSM-IV-TR BP-II depression were randomly assigned to weekly sessions of Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) plus placebo or IPSRT plus quetiapine and followed for 20 weeks.

Results: For primary outcomes, IPSRT + quetiapine yielded significantly faster improvement on 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (F1,115.4 = 3.924, P = .048) and greater improvement on Young Mania Rating Scale (F58.5 = 4.242, P = .044) scores. Both groups, however, improved significantly over time with comparable response rates (≥ 50% reduction in depression scores): 67.4% (62/92) in the entire sample, with no between-group differences. Those randomly assigned to their preferred treatment were 4.5 times more likely to respond (OR = 4.48, 95% CI = 1.20-16.77, P = .026). IPSRT + quetiapine assignment was associated with significantly higher body mass index over time (F67.96 = 6.671, P = .012) and rates of dry mouth (79% v. 58%; χ2 = 4.0, P = .046) and a trend toward more complaints of oversedation (100% vs 92%; χ2 = 3.4, P = .063).

Conclusions: IPSRT plus quetiapine resulted in greater symptomatic improvement but also more side effects than IPSRT alone. A subset of participants improved with IPSRT alone, although absence of an inactive comparator limits interpretation of this finding. Receipt of preferred treatment was associated with better outcomes. Harms, benefits, and preferences should be considered when recommending treatments for BP-II depression.

Posttraumatische Belastungsstörungen

Stability of improvement after psychotherapy of posttraumatic stress disorder

Markowitz JC, Choo T, Neria Y

Is Exposure Necessary? A Randomized Clinical Trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for PTSD

Markowitz JC, Petkova E, Neria Y et al

Exposure to trauma reminders has been considered imperative in psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The authors tested interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), which has demonstrated antidepressant efficacy and shown promise in pilot PTSD research as a non-exposure-based non-cognitive-behavioral PTSD treatment.

The authors conducted a randomized 14-week trial comparing IPT, prolonged exposure (an exposure-based exemplar), and relaxation therapy (an active control psychotherapy) in 110 unmedicated patients who had chronic PTSD and a score >50 on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). Randomization stratified for comorbid major depression. The authors hypothesized that IPT would be no more than minimally inferior (a difference <12.5 points in CAPS score) to prolonged exposure.

All therapies had large within-group effect sizes (d values, 1.32–1.88). Rates of response, defined as an improvement of >30% in CAPS score, were 63% for IPT, 47% for prolonged exposure, and 38% for relaxation therapy (not significantly different between groups). CAPS outcomes for IPT and prolonged exposure differed by 5.5 points (not significant), and the null hypothesis of more than minimal IPT inferiority was rejected (p=0.035). Patients with comorbid major depression were nine times more likely than nondepressed patients to drop out of prolonged exposure therapy. IPT and prolonged exposure improved quality of life and social functioning more than relaxation therapy.

This study demonstrated noninferiority of individual IPT for PTSD compared with the gold-standard treatment. IPT had (nonsignificantly) lower attrition and higher response rates than prolonged exposure. Contrary to widespread clinical belief, PTSD treatment may not require cognitive-behavioral exposure to trauma reminders. Moreover, patients with comorbid major depression may fare better with IPT than with prolonged exposure.

Angst- & Panikstörungen

Cognitive therapy vs interpersonal psychotherapy in social anxiety disorder: a randomized controlled trial

Stangier U, Schramm E,Heidenreich T et al

Context Cognitive therapy (CT) focuses on the modification of biased information processing and dysfunctional beliefs of social anxiety disorder (SAD). Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) aims to change problematic interpersonal behavior patterns that may have an important role in the maintenance of SAD. No direct comparisons of the treatments for SAD in an outpatient setting exist.

Objective  To compare the efficacy of CT, IPT, and a waiting-list control (WLC) condition.

Design  Randomized controlled trial.

Setting  Two academic outpatient treatment sites.

Patients Of 254 potential participants screened, 117 had a primary diagnosis of SAD and were eligible for randomization; 106 participants completed the treatment or waiting phase.

Interventions Treatment comprised 16 individual sessions of either CT or IPT and 1 booster session. Twenty weeks after randomization, posttreatment assessment was conducted and participants in the WLC received 1 of the treatments.

Main Outcome Measures  The primary outcome was treatment response on the Clinical Global Impression Improvement Scale as assessed by independent masked evaluators. The secondary outcome measures were independent assessor ratings using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, and patient self-ratings of SAD symptoms.

Results  At the posttreatment assessment, response rates were 65.8% for CT, 42.1% for IPT, and 7.3% for WLC. Regarding response rates and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale scores, CT performed significantly better than did IPT, and both treatments were superior to WLC. At 1-year follow-up, the differences between CT and IPT were largely maintained, with significantly higher response rates in the CT vs the IPT group (68.4% vs 31.6%) and better outcomes on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale. No significant treatment × site interactions were noted.

Conclusions  Cognitive therapy and IPT led to considerable improvements that were maintained 1 year after treatment; CT was more efficacious than was IPT in reducing social phobia symptoms.

A randomized clinical trial of cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy for panic disorder with agoraphobia

Vos SP, Huibers MJ, Diels L et al


Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) seems to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in the treatment of major depression. Because the onset of panic attacks is often related to increased interpersonal life stress, IPT has the potential to also treat panic disorder. To date, a preliminary open trial yielded promising results but there have been no randomized controlled trials directly comparing CBT and IPT for panic disorder.


This study aimed to directly compare the effects of CBT versus IPT for the treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia. Ninety-one adult patients with a primary diagnosis of DSM-III or DSM-IV panic disorder with agoraphobia were randomized. Primary outcomes were panic attack frequency and an idiosyncratic behavioral test. Secondary outcomes were panic and agoraphobia severity, panic-related cognitions, interpersonal functioning and general psychopathology. Measures were taken at 0, 3 and 4 months (baseline, end of treatment and follow-up).


Intention-to-treat (ITT) analyses on the primary outcomes indicated superior effects for CBT in treating panic disorder with agoraphobia. Per-protocol analyses emphasized the differences between treatments and yielded larger effect sizes. Reductions in the secondary outcomes were equal for both treatments, except for agoraphobic complaints and behavior and the credibility ratings of negative interpretations of bodily sensations, all of which decreased more in CBT.


CBT is the preferred treatment for panic disorder with agoraphobia compared to IPT. Mechanisms of change should be investigated further, along with long-term outcomes.


Adaptation of interpersonal psychotherapy to borderline personality disorder: a comparison of combined therapy and single pharmacotherapy

Bellino S,Rinaldi C, Bogetto F

Combined treatment with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) and antidepressants (ADs) has been found more effective than single pharmacotherapy in patients with major depression and concomitant borderline personality disorder (BPD). The aim of our study is to investigate whether combined treatment with a modified version of IPT is still superior to ADs when treating patients with a single diagnosis of BPD.

Fifty-five consecutive outpatients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, diagnosis of BPD were enrolled. They were randomly assigned to 2 treatment arms for 32 weeks: fluoxetine 20 to 40 mg per day plus clinical management; and fluoxetine 20 to 40 mg per day plus IPT adapted to BPD (IPT-BPD). Eleven patients (20%) discontinued treatment owing to noncompliance. Forty-four patients completed the treatment period. They were assessed at baseline, and at week 16 and 32 with: a semi-structured interview for demographic and clinical variables; Clinical Global Impression Scale (CGI-S); Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS); Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS); Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS); BPD Severity Index (BPD-SI); and a questionnaire for quality of life (Satisfaction Profile [SAT-P]). A univariate general linear model was performed with 2 factors: duration and type of treatment. P values of less than 0.05 were considered significant.

Remission rates did not differ significantly between subgroups. Duration, but not type of treatment, had a significant effect on CGI-S, HDRS, SOFAS, and total BPD-SI score changes. Combined therapy was more effective on the HARS; the items: interpersonal relationships, affective instability, and impulsivity of BPD-SI; and the factors: psychological functioning and social functioning of SAT-P.

Combined therapy with adapted IPT was superior to fluoxetine alone in BPD patients, concerning a few core symptoms of the disorder, anxiety, and quality of life.

Combined therapy with interpersonal psychotherapy adapted for borderline personality disorder: A two-year follow-up

Bozzatello P, Bellino S

Few investigations evaluated the long-term effects of psychotherapies in borderline personality disorder (BPD). In a previous study, we compared efficacy of combination of fluoxetine and interpersonal psychotherapy adapted to BPD (IPT-BPD) versus single fluoxetine administered for 32 weeks. This study is aimed to investigate whether the results obtained with the addition of IPT-BPD persist during a follow-up period. Forty-four patients who completed the 32 weeks trial underwent 24 months of follow-up receiving fluoxetine 20-40 mg/day. Clinical Global Impression Severity (CGI-S), Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression and Anxiety (HDRS, HARS), Social and Occupational Functioning Assessment Scale (SOFAS), Satisfaction Profile (SAT-P), and Borderline Personality Disorder Severity Index (BPDSI) were repeated at 6, 12, and 24 months. Statistical analysis was performed with the general linear model. Results showed that most of the differences between combined therapy and single pharmacotherapy at the end of the 32 weeks trial were maintained after 24 months follow-up. The addition of IPT-BPD to medication produced greater effects on BPD symptoms (impulsivity and interpersonal relationships) and quality of life (perception of psychological and social functioning) that endured after termination of psychotherapy. On the contrary, different effects on anxiety symptoms and affective instability were lost after 6 months.

Seelische Gesundheit

Social support and protection from depression: Systematic review of current findings in Western countries

Gariepy G, Honkaniemi H, Quesnel-Vallee´ A


Numerous studies report an association between social support and protection from depression, but no systematic review or meta-analysis exists on this topic.


To review systematically the characteristics of social support (types and source) associated with protection from depression across life periods (childhood and adolescence; adulthood; older age) and by study design (cross-sectional v. cohort studies).


A systematic literature search conducted in February 2015 yielded 100 eligible studies. Study quality was assessed using a critical appraisal checklist, followed by meta-analyses.


Sources of support varied across life periods, with parental support being most important among children and adolescents, whereas adults and older adults relied more on spouses, followed by family and then friends. Significant heterogeneity in social support measurement was noted. Effects were weaker in both magnitude and significance in cohort studies.


Knowledge gaps remain due to social support measurement heterogeneity and to evidence of reverse causality bias.

The importance of responding to negative affect in psychotherapies

Markowitz JC, Milrod B

Bindungen – das Gefüge psychischer Sicherheit (7. Aufl.)

Grossmann, K. & Grossmann, K.E (Hrsg.)

  • Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 2017

Perceived changes in personal circumstances related to social change

Grümer S, Pinquart M

Social change is a ubiquitous phenomenon comprising tendencies such as globalization, demographic change, and pluralization of biographical trajectories. Based on stress theories and related challenge-response models, the present study investigated whether depressive symptoms were related to an accumulation of perceived demands associated with social change in a sample of 2,522 German adolescents and adults. In addition, buffering effects of personal and social resources on the association between perceived demands and depressive symptoms were tested. By means of structural equation modeling, we found that accumulations of work-, family-, and public life-related demands were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, even after controlling for demographic and other confounding variables. Optimism and social support were found to be associated with lower depressive symptoms. Furthermore, both optimism and social support reduced the size of associations between demands of social change and depressive symptoms. Overall, these results underscore the association of social change and psychosocial resources with individuals’ depressive symptoms.

Theorien und Konzepte

Common versus specific factors in psychotherapy: opening the black box

Mulder R, Murray G, Rucklidge J

Do psychotherapies work primarily through the specific factors described in treatment manuals, or do they work through common factors? In attempting to unpack this ongoing debate between specific and common factors, we highlight limitations in the existing evidence base and the power battles and competing paradigms that influence the literature. The dichotomy is much less than it might first appear. Most specific factor theorists now concede that common factors have importance, whereas the common factor theorists produce increasingly tight definitions of bona fide therapy. Although specific factors might have been overplayed in psychotherapy research, some are effective for particular conditions. We argue that continuing to espouse common factors with little evidence or endless head-to-head comparative studies of different psychotherapies will not move the field forward. Rather than continuing the debate, research needs to encompass new psychotherapies such as e-therapies, transdiagnostic treatments, psychotherapy component studies, and findings from neurobiology to elucidate the effective process components of psychotherapy.

Mechanisms of Change in Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)

Lipsitz JD, Markowitz JC

Although interpersonal therapy (IPT) has demonstrated efficacy for mood and other disorders, little is known about how IPT works. We present interpersonal change mechanisms that we hypothesize account for symptom change in IPT. Integrating relational theory and insights based on research findings regarding stress, social support, and illness, IPT highlights contextual factors thought to precipitate and maintain psychiatric disorders. It frames therapy around a central interpersonal problem in the patient's life, a current crisis or relational predicament that is disrupting social support and increasing interpersonal stress. By mobilizing and working collaboratively with the patient to resolve this problem, IPT seeks to activate several interpersonal change mechanisms. These include: 1) enhancing social support, 2) decreasing interpersonal stress, 3) facilitating emotional processing, and 4) improving interpersonal skills. We hope that articulating these mechanisms will help therapists to formulate cases and better maintain focus within an IPT framework. Here we propose interpersonal mechanisms that might explain how IPT's interpersonal focus leads to symptom change. Future work needs to specify and test candidate mediators in clinical trials. We anticipate that pursuing this more systematic strategy will lead to important refinements and improvements in IPT and enhance its application in a range of clinical populations.

Casebook of Interpersonal Psychotherapy

Weissman MM, Markowitz JC

  • Abstract
  • New York: Oxford University Press 2012

The Casebook of Interpersonal Psychotherapy brings together experts who treat patients with and conduct clinical research on IPT. It responds to the growing need for a foundational text to supplement the available manuals on IPT. Providing a wealth of real-life treatment material, the Casebook illustrates the use of IPT in the hands of expert psychotherapists treating patients with a range of conditions and complications in different IPT treatment formats. Giving a sense of how IPT proceeds and how it works, authors describe specific adaptations of IPT for patients with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and personality disorders. The book also covers different contexts in which IPT may be practiced, including group therapy, inpatient settings, and telephone therapy. This Casebook is an invaluable resource for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and other mental health professionals interested in psychotherapy.

The guide to Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Updated and Expanded

Weissman MM, Markowitz JC, Klerman G

  • New York: Oxford Press 2018

The Paradigm Shift in Psychotherapy: Implications for the DSM

Elkins DN

The thesis of this article is that understanding the current paradigm shift in psychotherapy, which is the movement from a medical to a nonmedical view of psychotherapy, can provide perspective and guidance as authors critique the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM) and explore alternative ways to describe patterns of emotional distress. After defining the paradigm shift, the article presents four implications of the shift for the DSM. The article’s conclusion emphasizes the importance of developing and publishing a nonmedical system to describe patterns of emotional distress as an alternative to the DSM and other medical diagnostic systems.

Alliance in individual psychotherapy

Horvath AO, Del Re AC, Flückiger C

In this chapter, we reexamine the empirical evidence linking the alliance to outcome in individual psychotherapy with adults. But the relation between alliance and therapy is only the first level of interest. Beyond the strength of the overall alliance outcome link, it was our intent to use the accumulated data to examine the role of several potential moderators and mediators that impact this relationship, with particular attention to issues that help us better understand the way alliance and treatment results are linked.