A self-help, positive goal-focused intervention to increase well-being in people with depression

Clin Psychol Psychother. Jul-Aug 2012;19(4):305-15. doi: 10.1002/cpp.1797. Epub 2012 May 21.


Self-help interventions are an accessible, first-step treatment for depression. Well-being interventions focus on increasing people's resources and bringing about positive feelings and behaviours and could enhance self-help interventions for depression by increasing well-being as well as reducing depression. The present study tested the effectiveness of a self-help, well-being intervention (Goal-setting and Planning, GAP) in both increasing well-being and reducing depression within a sample from a depression self-help organization. We used a cross-over design, with half of the participants allocated to GAP (n = 26) and half to a wait-list control group (n = 29). After 5 weeks, the wait-list control group also received GAP. Compared with wait-list controls, those allocated to GAP showed an overall positive change, with individual significant decreases in negative affect and trends towards significant decreases in depression and increases in positive affect and life satisfaction post-intervention. Within a cross-over design, the wait-list controls also received GAP. In the whole sample that received GAP, there were significant increases in positive affect and life satisfaction and significant decreases in negative affect and depression, post-intervention and at 5-week follow-up, relative to baseline. These findings demonstrate that GAP is a useful intervention for people with symptoms of depression, influencing both levels of well-being and depressive symptoms.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • United Kingdom