The effects of behavioral activation therapy with inpatient geriatric psychiatry patients

Behav Ther. 2011 Mar;42(1):100-8. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2010.05.001. Epub 2010 Nov 20.


This study examined the effects of Behavioral Activation (BA) treatment on depressive symptoms and quality of life among older adult patients in a geriatric psychiatry facility. There were 50 participants with mild to moderate cognitive impairment, each being 65 years of age or older. A 2 (between)×3 (time of measurement) design was used in this study comparing control (treatment-as-usual) and experimental (BA) conditions at pre-, mid-, and posttreatment. BA consisted of eight 30- to 60-minute sessions across 4 weeks. Intent-to-treat analyses indicated a significant Group×Time interaction on depressive symptoms, with this effect remaining when only completer data were included. Further analyses indicated that this effect was due to significant change early in treatment in both the full and completer samples. There was no evidence of a significant effect on the quality-of-life measure. Cognitive status was not related to change in depressive symptoms, suggesting that BA may be useful across a range of older adults.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / therapy*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Services for the Aged
  • Humans
  • Inpatients / psychology
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology