Change in Interpersonal and Metacognitive Skills During Treatment With Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy and Metacognitive Therapy: Results From an Observational Study

Front Psychiatry. 2021 Aug 16:12:619674. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.619674. eCollection 2021.


Background: Interpersonal skills deficits and dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs have been implicated in the etiology and maintenance of depression. This study aimed to investigate the association between changes in these skills deficits and change in depressive symptoms over the course of treatment with Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP) and Metacognitive Therapy (MCT). Methods: In this prospective, parallel group observational study, data was collected at baseline and after 8 weeks of an intensive day clinic psychotherapy program. Based on a shared decision between patients and clinicians, patients received either CBASP or MCT. Ninety patients were included in the analyses (CBASP: age M = 38.7, 40.5% female, MCT: age M = 44.7, 43.3% female). Interpersonal deficits were assessed with the short-form of the Luebeck Questionnaire for Recording Preoperational Thinking (LQPT-SF) and the Impact Message Inventory (IMI-R). Metacognitive beliefs were assessed with the Metacognition Questionnaire-30 (MCQ-30). The Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS-SR16) was utilized to assess depressive symptoms. A regression analysis was conducted to assess variables associated with outcome. ANCOVAs were utilized to investigate whether improvement in skills deficits is dependent on type of treatment received. Results: Improvements in preoperational thinking and increases in friendly-dominant behavior were associated with change in depressive symptoms. There was no association between reductions in dysfunctional metacognitive beliefs and a decrease in depressive symptoms. While both treatment groups showed significant improvements in interpersonal and metacognitive skills, there was no significant between-group difference in the change scores for either of these skills. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that changes in interpersonal skills seem to be of particular relevance in the treatment of depression. These results have to be replicated in a randomized-controlled design before firm conclusions can be drawn.

Keywords: cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy; depression; interpersonal skills; metacognitive beliefs; metacognitive therapy; social cognition.