The content of behavior therapy for depression demonstrates few associations with treatment outcome among low-income, medically ill older adults

Behav Ther. 2008 Dec;39(4):360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2007.10.004. Epub 2008 Apr 20.


We reported previously the results of a randomized controlled trial of a home-based behavioral treatment for dysthymia or minor depression that emphasized problem solving and activity scheduling among low-income, medically ill older adults. This report focuses on the content of treatment sessions as predictors of depressive symptoms, social activity, and physical activity outcomes among 64 participants who completed 2 or more sessions and evaluations at 6 and 12 months after the baseline evaluation. Worksheets from the treatment sessions were coded for focus on 4 types of problems (functional, social, health/physical, emotional); the number of activities planned was counted. More activity scheduling was associated with increased physical activity at the 12-month evaluation relative to baseline. The limited findings suggest either that the study methodology did not reveal extant associations between treatment variables and outcomes or that the session content variables tested in this study are not the active ingredients of treatment.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Association*
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / classification
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Social Class*
  • Treatment Outcome