Treatment preferences in patients with first episode depression

J Affect Disord. 2013 May;147(1-3):94-100. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.10.016. Epub 2012 Nov 17.


Background: Treatment preferences of patients suffering from depression may affect adherence and clinical outcomes. This study examines associations between patients' treatment preferences, their characteristics and illness representations of depression.

Methods: Illness representations of depression (IPQ-R), treatment acceptability and preferences were assessed in 88 newly diagnosed patients with first episode depression. Other measures recorded: gender, age, education level, income, psychiatric comorbidity, depressive symptomatology (PHQ-9), a family history of depression, and current treatment of depression. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with a preference for psychotherapy.

Results: Psychotherapy was preferred by 41% of participants, while 31% favored antidepressants. Acceptability was strongly associated with preference. Patients preferring psychotherapy perceived that their depression has more serious consequences than those preferring medication and were more likely to attribute their depression to social causes than psychological or physical causes. Participants who preferred psychotherapy were more likely to be female, have a university degree and have a family history of depression.

Limitations: The cross-sectional design precludes causal interpretations.

Conclusions: Preferences vary according to gender, level of education, family history and illness representations. It may be important to provide accurate information on both treatments and discuss patients' preferences before prescribing treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Preference
  • Psychotherapy
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents