A meta-(re)analysis of the effects of cognitive therapy versus 'other therapies' for depression

J Affect Disord. 2002 Apr;68(2-3):159-65. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(00)00287-1.


Background: Cognitive therapy (CT) for depression has been found to be efficacious for the treatment of depression. In comparison to other psychotherapies, CT has been shown to be approximately equal to behavior therapies, but sometimes superior to 'other therapies.' The latter comparison is problematic given that 'other therapies' contain bona fide treatments as well as treatments without therapeutic rationale for depression.

Method: A meta-analysis was conducted for studies that compared CT to 'other therapies' in an earlier meta-analysis, except that in this meta-analysis 'other therapies' were classified as bona fide and non-bona fide.

Results: The benefits of CT were found to be approximately equal to the benefits of bona fide non-CT and behavioral treatments, but superior to non-bona fide treatments.

Conclusions: The results of this study fail to support the superiority of CT for depression. On the contrary, these results support the conclusion that all bona fide psychological treatments for depression are equally efficacious.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Psychotherapy*