Effectiveness of a group-based psychosocial program to prevent depression and anxiety in older people attending primary health care centres: a randomised controlled trial

BMC Geriatr. 2019 Aug 29;19(1):237. doi: 10.1186/s12877-019-1255-3.


Background: Evidence about the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions to reduce the incidence of depression and anxiety and promote subjective well-being in older people is limited, particularly in Latin-American countries. This study thus aims to assess a program specifically designed to address this issue in persons aged 65 to 80 and attending primary health care centres.

Method: Older people who use primary care centres are to be randomly assigned to the program or to a control group. Only independent users will be included; those having had a major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder in the last 6 months will be excluded. The program is group based; it includes cognitive stimulation, expansion of social support networks and cognitive behaviour strategies. Depressive and anxiety symptoms and disorders, as well as psychological well-being, will be assessed using standardised instruments, once before implementing the program and later, after 18 and 36 weeks.

Discussion: Primary care is a setting where interventions to improve mental health can be beneficial. Providing evidence-based programs that work with older people is a priority for public mental health.

Trial registration: A protocol for this study has been registered prospectively at ISRCTN registry on 25 July 2018. Identifier: ISRCTN32235611 .

Keywords: Anxiety; Depression; Mental health; Older people; Prevention; Promotion; The elderly.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN32235611