A randomized hybrid efficacy and effectiveness trial of behavioral activation for Latinos with depression

Behav Ther. 2015 Mar;46(2):177-92. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2014.09.011. Epub 2014 Sep 28.


Depression presents a significant public health burden for Latinos, the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States. The current study performed a randomized controlled trial of Behavioral Activation (BA) for Latinos (BAL, n=21), with relatively minor modifications, compared to treatment as usual (TAU, n=22) in a community mental health clinic setting with a sample of depressed, Spanish-speaking Latinos. TAU was a strong comparison condition, taking place at the same clinic, under the same guidelines and clinic protocols, with similar levels of ongoing consultation, and using the same pool of therapists as BAL. Results indicated that BAL performed well with respect to treatment engagement and retention. Regarding acute treatment outcomes, an interaction emerged between number of sessions attended and condition. Specifically, only BAL clients who were engaged in treatment and attended more sessions demonstrated significant reductions in depression and improvements in quality of life and mental health functioning. Results are discussed in terms of the balance of efficacy and effectiveness issues addressed in this trial.

Keywords: Latinos; behavioral activation; depression; psychotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Behavior Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / ethnology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology*
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States
  • Wisconsin
  • Young Adult