Intervention to Prevent Major Depression in Primary Care: A Cluster Randomized Trial

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Not enough is known about universal prevention of depression in adults.


To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention to prevent major depression.


Multicenter, cluster randomized trial with sites randomly assigned to usual care or an intervention. ( NCT01151982)


10 primary care centers in each of 7 cities in Spain.


Two primary care physicians (PCPs) and 5236 nondepressed adult patients were randomly sampled from each center; 3326 patients consented and were eligible to participate.


For each patient, PCPs communicated individual risk for depression and personal predictors of risk and developed a psychosocial program tailored to prevent depression.


New cases of major depression, assessed every 6 months for 18 months.


At 18 months, 7.39% of patients in the intervention group (95% CI, 5.85% to 8.95%) developed major depression compared with 9.40% in the control (usual care) group (CI, 7.89% to 10.92%) (absolute difference, −2.01 percentage points [CI, −4.18 to 0.16 percentage points]; P = 0.070). Depression incidence was lower in the intervention centers in 5 cities and similar between intervention and control centers in 2 cities.


Potential self-selection bias due to nonconsenting patients.


Compared with usual care, an intervention based on personal predictors of risk for depression implemented by PCPs provided a modest but nonsignificant reduction in the incidence of major depression. Additional study of this approach may be warranted.

Primary Funding Source:

Institute of Health Carlos III.

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