Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis of psychological relapse prevention interventions versus control for patients in remission from depression: a protocol

BMJ Open. 2020 Feb 13;10(2):e034158. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034158.


Introduction: Psychological interventions and antidepressant medication can be effective interventions to prevent depressive relapse for patients currently in remission of depression. Less is known about overall factors that predict or moderate treatment response for patients receiving a psychological intervention for recurrent depression. This is a protocol for an individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis which aims to assess predictors and moderators of relapse or recurrence for patients currently in remission from depression.

Methods and analysis: Searches of PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were completed on 13 October 2019. Study extractions and risk of bias assessments have been completed. Study authors will be asked to contribute IPD. Standard aggregate meta-analysis and IPD analysis will be conducted, and the outcomes will be compared with assess whether results differ between studies supplying data and those that did not. IPD files of individual data will be merged and variables homogenised where possible for consistency. IPD will be analysed via Cox regression and one and two-stage analyses will be conducted.

Ethics and dissemination: The results will be published in peer review journals and shared in a policy briefing as well as accessible formats and shared with a range of stakeholders. The results will inform patients and clinicians and researchers about our current understanding of more personalised ways to prevent a depressive relapse. No local ethics approval was necessary following consultation with the legal department. Guidance on patient data storage and management will be adhered to.

Prospero registration number: CRD42019127844.

Keywords: depression & mood disorders; individual participant data; personalized medicine; psychotherapy; relapse prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Depression* / prevention & control
  • Depression* / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / prevention & control
  • Depressive Disorder, Major* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Recurrence*
  • Research Design
  • Secondary Prevention*


  • Antidepressive Agents