A meta-analysis of CBT efficacy for depression comparing adults and older adults

Alessa Werson, Richard Meiser-Stedman, Ken Laidlaw

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This meta-analysis investigates CBT treatment efficacy fordepression, and compares outcomes between adults (young and middle aged) and older adults (OA). Methodology. Effect sizes (Hedges' g) were obtained from 37 peer-reviewed RCTs, 25 adult papers (participant n = 2948) and 12 OA papers (participant n = 551), and analysed with the random effects model. Results. No significant difference between age groups is reported in terms of CBT efficacy for depression compared to other treatments (Qbetween (1) = 0.06, p = .89), with the overall effect favouring CBT over any other treatments (g = 0.48, 95 % CI = 0.29–0.68). The same pattern of results was found when restricting studies to those which used active control conditions (Qbetween (1) = 0.03, p = .86) or passive control conditions (Q (1) = 2.45, p = .12). Discussion. No significant differences in efficacy for CBT treatment for depression are found when comparing adults and OA. CBT is as efficacious with OA as with adults.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-201
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Early online date13 Sep 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2022


  • CBT
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Meta-analysis
  • Middle aged adults
  • Older adults
  • Older people
  • Young adults

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