Thought suppression and treatment outcome in late-life depression

Aging Ment Health. 2005 Jan;9(1):35-9. doi: 10.1080/13607860512331334040.


This study examined severity of depression, age of onset, and thought suppression as predictors of treatment outcome. Measures were taken pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at six-month follow-up in 34 depressed older adults receiving the treatment protocol described in Lynch, Morse, Mendelson & Robins (Dialectical behavior therapy for depressed older adults, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 11, 33-45, 2003). Severity and chronicity of depression and higher levels of thought suppression were associated with higher depressive symptoms six months after treatment. Findings are consistent with research suggesting that severity and chronicity of depression predict poor clinical outcome. In addition, these results provide preliminary evidence that the tendency to cope with unwanted thoughts by deliberate attempts to not experience such thoughts may be an important pre-treatment predictor of outcome among depressed older adults. Larger studies are needed to explore whether thought suppression mediates long-term recovery from depression.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cognition*
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome