Effects of Coping-Oriented Couples Therapy on Depression: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of treating depression with coping-oriented couples therapy (COCT) as compared with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT; A. T. Beck, C. Ward, & M. Mendelson, 1961) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT; M. M. Weissman, J. C. Markowitz, & G. L. Klerman, 2000). Sixty couples, including 1 clinically depressed partner, completed pre- and posttest questionnaires as well as follow-up assessments at 6-month intervals over the subsequent 1.5 years. Effects of the 3 treatments on depressive symptomatology assessed by the Beck Depression Inventory (A. T. Beck, A. J. Rush, B. L. Shaw, & G. Emery, 1979) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (M. Hamilton, 1960); recovery rates; and relapse rates were examined. Additionally, changes in relationship quality were evaluated. Results suggest that the COCT is as effective in improving depressive symptomatology as are the well-established, evidenced-based CBT and IPT approaches. The COCT did not demonstrate a significantly better outcome with regard to self-reported relationship satisfaction or dyadic coping; however, it did produce significant improvements in partners' expressed emotion, changes that were not seen in other treatment conditions.

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