Comparative effects of cognitive-behavioral and brief psychodynamic psychotherapies for depressed family caregivers

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994 Jun;62(3):543-9. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.62.3.543.


Clinically depressed family caregivers (N = 66) of frail, elderly relatives were randomly assigned to 20 sessions of either cognitive-behavioral (CB) or brief psychodynamic (PD) individual psychotherapy. At posttreatment, 71% of the caregivers were no longer clinically depressed according to research diagnostic criteria (RDC), with no differences found between the 2 outpatient treatments. The results suggested therapy specificity; there was an interaction between treatment modality and length of caregiving on symptom-oriented measures. Clients who had been caregivers for a shorter period showed improvement in the PD condition, whereas those who had been caregivers for at least 44 months improved with CB therapy. These findings suggest that patient-specific variables should be considered when choosing treatment for clinically depressed family caregivers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Frail Elderly / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy*
  • Psychotherapy, Brief*
  • Treatment Outcome