Depressed Outpatients' Life Contexts, Amount of Treatment, and Treatment Outcome

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This paper examines the influence of life context factors and the amount of treatment on treatment outcome after 1 year among 265 unipolar depressed outpatients. Preintake medical conditions, family conflict, and lack of family support predicted poorer treatment outcome. Moreover, patients' family conflict and confidant support at intake interacted with the amount of treatment to influence outcome. Patients who had a close confidant and less family conflict showed better outcome with brief therapy; patients who lacked a confidant and had more family conflict experienced better outcome with longer treatment. Posttreat-ment stressors and lack of social resources were associated with poorer treatment outcome. The findings imply that treatment can provide temporary support to compensate for a lack of social resources. More intensive treatment may be needed for patients who experience more family conflict and who have a poor relationship or no relationship with a confidant

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