Reduction in disability in a randomized controlled trial of telephone-administered cognitive-behavioral therapy

Health Psychol. 2007 Sep;26(5):554-63. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.26.5.554.


Objective: The authors examined the efficacy of telephone-administered cognitive-behavioral therapy (T-CBT) and telephone-administered supportive emotion-focused therapy (T-SEFT) in reducing disability among disabled patients with multiple sclerosis and depression. Telephone administration of therapy allowed care to be delivered to a more disabled population. This is a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial; the primary outcome results for depression are reported in D. C. Mohr, S. L. Hart, L. Julian, C. Catledge, L. Honos-Webb, L. Vella, et al. (2005).

Design: A randomized controlled trial, comparing 16 weeks of T-CBT with T-SEFT.

Main outcome measures: Disability was measured using Guy's Neurological Disability Scale; fatigue was measured using the Fatigue Impact Scale; depression was measured using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory-II.

Results: Patients in both treatments showed significant improvements in disability and fatigue. These improvements were related to reductions in depression. T-CBT produced significantly greater decreases in disability and fatigue, compared with T-SEFT, even after controlling for depression. The greater benefit of T-CBT on disability was mediated by physical fatigue.

Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that significant reductions in disability can be achieved by reducing depression in patients with multiple sclerosis. There was also evidence that further reductions could be achieved through CBT-specific interventions that include a focus on symptoms such as fatigue management.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Disabled Persons / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / psychology
  • Remote Consultation / methods
  • Telephone*
  • Treatment Outcome