A randomised controlled trial of cognitive behaviour therapy vs treatment as usual in the treatment of mild to moderate late life depression

Kenneth Laidlaw, Kate Davidson, Hugh Toner, Graham Jackson, Stella Clark, Jim Law, Mary Howley, Gillian Bowie, Hazel Connery, Susan Cross

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This study provides an empirical evaluation of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) alone vs Treatment as usual (TAU) alone (generally pharmacotherapy) for late life depression in a UK primary care setting.

General Practitioners in Fife and Glasgow referred 114 Participants to the study with 44 meeting inclusion criteria and 40 participants providing data that permitted analysis. All participants had a diagnosis of mild to moderate Major Depressive Episode. Participants were randomly allocated to receive either TAU alone or CBT alone.

Participants in both treatment conditions benefited from treatment with reduced scores on primary measures of mood at end of treatment and at 6 months follow-up from the end of treatment. When adjusting for differences in baseline scores, gender and living arrangements, CBT may be beneficial in levels of hopelessness at 6 months follow-up. When evaluating outcome in terms of numbers of participants meeting Research Diagnostic Criteria for depression, there were significant differences favouring the CBT condition at the end of treatment and at 3 months follow-up after treatment.

CBT alone and TAU alone produced significant reductions in depressive symptoms at the end of treatment and at 6 months follow-up. CBT on its own is shown to be an effective treatment procedure for mild to moderate late life depression and has utility as a treatment alternative for older people who cannot or will not tolerate physical treatment approaches for depression.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-850
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008

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