Treatment of depression and/or anxiety - outcomes of a randomised controlled trial of the tree theme method® versus regular occupational therapy

BMC Psychol. 2018 May 23;6(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40359-018-0237-0.


Background: Depression and anxiety disorders are a major concern in western countries, and because these often have a negative affect on everyday life interventions based on activities in everyday life are needed. The Tree Theme Method® (TTM) is a client-centred occupational therapy intervention designed to increase the ability to cope with, and to enhance satisfaction with, everyday life, both at home and at work. The aim of this study was to compare the short term outcomes of the TTM intervention with regular occupational therapy treatment for people with depression and/or anxiety disorders.

Methods: This randomised controlled trial included patients from three counties in Sweden. Men and women with depression and/or anxiety disorders, ages 18 to 65, were randomised to either TTM or regular occupational therapy. Assessment data were collected at baseline and the follow-up directly after completing the intervention. Non-parametric and parametric statistical methods were used.

Results: The questionnaires were answered by 118 patients at baseline and by 107 patients after completing the intervention. No significant differences in short term outcomes were found between the groups. Both groups showed positive significant outcomes regarding almost all aspects of activities in everyday life, psychological symptoms, and health-related and intervention-related aspects.

Conclusions: Despite the lack of differences between the groups, the positive outcomes regarding activities in everyday life, psychological symptoms, and health-related aspects after completing the intervention indicates the need for further research on the long-term perspective of TTM compared to regular occupational therapy.

Trial registration: Clinical NCT01980381 ; registered November 2013.

Keywords: Adults; Affective disorders; Art therapy; Intervention; Mental health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Art Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Sweden

Associated data