- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) delivered in a group setting, over the telephone, or in a guided self-help format is as effective as individual therapy for the treatment of acute depression.
- Guided self-help CBT was less acceptable than individual and group CBT, and unguided self-help therapy was less effective overall.
Why this matters
- An accompanying editorial notes that the findings suggest other psychotherapy formats are a viable alternative for people with depression for whom individual psychotherapy is not an option, as long as a trained clinician is involved.
- Network meta-analysis of 155 trials including 15,191 participants with acute depression.
- Patients received either CBT (individual, group, telephone, guided, and unguided self-help) or control care (waiting list/usual care/pill placebo).
- Funding: None disclosed.
- No significant difference was observed with CBT delivered in a group, telephone, or in a guided self-help (P=.56, P=.13, and P=.06, respectively) vs individual therapy.
- Guided self-help was less acceptable vs individual (relative risk [RR], 1.44; 95% CI, 1.09-1.89) and group (RR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.06-1.80) therapies.
- Unguided self-help CBT was less effective vs individual (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.50), group (SMD, 0.59), telephone (SMD, 0.50), and guided (SMD, 0.34) CBT.
- Heterogeneity between studies.
Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD