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Is psychotherapy effective? A re-analysis of treatments for depression

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Munder T., Flückiger C., Leichsenring F., Abbass A. A., Hilsenroth M. J., Luyten P., Rabung S., Steinert C., Wampold B. E.,
Project Design development in randomized clinical trials - Psychological treatment in generalized anxiety
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
Page(s) 1 - 7
Title of proceedings Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
DOI 10.1017/s2045796018000355

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Aims The aim of this study was to reanalyse the data from Cuijpers et al. 's (2018) meta-analysis, to examine Eysenck's claim that psychotherapy is not effective. Cuijpers et al ., after correcting for bias, concluded that the effect of psychotherapy for depression was small (standardised mean difference, SMD, between 0.20 and 0.30), providing evidence that psychotherapy is not as effective as generally accepted. Methods The data for this study were the effect sizes included in Cuijpers et al. (2018). We removed outliers from the data set of effects, corrected for publication bias and segregated psychotherapy from other interventions. In our study, we considered wait-list (WL) controls as the most appropriate estimate of the natural history of depression without intervention. ResultsThe SMD for all interventions and for psychotherapy compared to WL controls was approximately 0.70, a value consistent with past estimates of the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy was also more effective than care-as-usual (SMD = 0.31) and other control groups (SMD = 0.43).ConclusionsThe re-analysis reveals that psychotherapy for adult patients diagnosed with depression is effective.