Treatment for Chronic Depression

2014-08-27 03:49:35 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this study is to test the clinical efficacy of two psychotherapies for early onset chronic major depression, including Behavioral Activation (Jacobson et al., 2001), and an integrated version of Behavioral Activation and Stress Innoculation Coping (BASIC) for short-term (16 weeks) of individual psychotherapy for adults with chronic major depression. The control condition is an individual workbook condition of Behavioral Activation. These psychotherapies focus on behavior activation, stress reduction and coping strategies to counter depressive symptoms.


Early-onset unipolar major depression is linked with considerable morbidity and mortality (Birmaher et al., 1996). The goal of this project is to test the efficacy of Behavioral Activation (BA; Jacobson et al., 2001) and an integrated version of Behavioral Activation (BA + Stress Inoculation Coping; BASIC) for the short-term psychotherapy of adults with chronic major depression (onset before age 18) and a history of early life stress before age 18. Exposure to stress during the developmental years has been linked with early-onset depression (Rao et al., 1996), a propensity to generate stress during the life span (Hammen et al., 1998), and a greater psychological sensitivity to stress as an adult (Post et al., 1992). And while incidence of early life stress is high among depressed adults, there are no behavioral treatments designed to address the unique needs of these individuals. We aim to develop a new treatment for a specific group of depressed patients, namely individuals who report early onset of depression and early life stress. We include the critical elements of behavioral activation and stress reduction strategies to address the avoidance, stress sensitivities, and coping deficits often observed in this population.

The specific aims are: 1) to determine if the addition of stress reduction strategies (packaged in BASIC) enhance the effects of BA, as indexed by the rate early remission; 2) to investigate if exposure to BA and BASIC reduce risk of relapse within three months of treatment termination, as indexed by reduced rates of relapse by the 3-month follow-up; and, 3) to learn if effects of BA are mediated by changes in activity behaviors or the acquisition of compensatory behavioral skills, and likewise whether enduring effects of BASIC are mediated by changes in stress regulation or the acquisition of stress regulation skills. Our approach is to compare BA and BASIC to a self-guided bibliotherapy of BA (control condition) using a randomized clinical trial design to distinguish between conditions. We anticipate that this study will promote our understanding about the efficacy of BA and the discovery of mechanisms of treatment response. We expect this project to facilitate our understanding of the mechanisms that promote treatment gains and contribute to depressive relapse.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Single Blind, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Major Depressive Disorder


(Condition 1) Behavioral Activation; (Condition 2) Behavioral Activation and Stress Innoculation


The University of Chicago, Department of Psychiatry
United States




University of Chicago

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:49:35-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Contextually focused form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy that uses MINDFULNESS and behavioral activation to increase patients' psychological flexibility in areas such as ability to engage in values-based, positive behaviors while experiencing difficult thoughts, emotions, or sensations.

Individual's ability to manage the symptoms, treatment, physical and psychosocial consequences and lifestyle changes inherent in living with a chronic condition. Efficacious self-management encompasses ability to monitor one's condition and to effect the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional responses necessary to maintain a satisfactory quality of life.

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Research that involves the application of the behavioral and social sciences to the study of the actions or reactions of persons or animals in response to external or internal stimuli. (from American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed)

The interdisciplinary field concerned with the development and integration of behavioral and biomedical science, knowledge, and techniques relevant to health and illness and the application of this knowledge and these techniques to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.

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