A meta-analysis of group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) interventions for adolescents with depression

J Adolesc. 2018 Aug;67:129-139. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.05.011. Epub 2018 Jun 26.


The aim of this meta-analysis was to systematically examine the short- and long-term effects of group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for adolescent depression and to examine the role of various moderators of the reported effect sizes. A comprehensive literature search of relevant randomized-controlled trials identified 23 studies containing 49 post-intervention and 56 follow-up comparisons. Standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated both for post-intervention and follow-up. A three-level random effects approach was used to model the dependent effect sizes. Group CBT was more efficacious than control conditions both at post-intervention (SMD = -0.28, 95% CI [-0.36, -0.19]) and at follow-up (SMD = -0.21, 95% CI [-0.30, -0.11]). Having an inactive control group was associated with a larger post-intervention effect size, while having a longer follow-up duration was associated with a smaller follow-up effect size. Even though the effect sizes are low, research suggests that group CBT is a significant treatment for adolescent depression.

Keywords: Adolescents; Depression; Group CBT; Meta-analysis; Randomized control trials.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic