Rapid Response to Psychosocial Treatment for Adolescent Depression: A Two-Year Follow-up

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Objective: To examine the differential course and treatment outcome of patients who participated in a randomized clinical trial, comparing cognitive, family, and supportive psychotherapies for adolescent major depressive disorder. Method: In a sample of 100 depressed adolescents, remission, clinical recovery, recurrence, and functional improvement were examined at the end of acute treatment and at 1 - and 2-year follow-up, according to their type of response to treatment. Rapid response was defined as a decline of 50° in the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score from pretreatment until the beginning of the second session of psychotherapy, intermediate as a decline of <50° 0but >0°. and initial nonresponse as a BDI score that stayed the same or increased. Results: Rapid responders showed a better outcome at acute treatment, 1-year, and in some measures, 2-year follow-up. For those who had recurrences over time, rapid responders showed a longer period before recurrence. Subjects were most likely to respond rapidly, or not at all, in the supportive cell. Conclusions: These findings suggest that milder forms of depression may benefit from initial supportive therapy or short trials of more specialized types of psychotherapy. The use of a placebo run-in period might help to “wash out” nonspecific responders.

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