The Relationship Between Clients’ Depression Etiological Beliefs and Psychotherapy Orientation Preferences, Expectations, and Credibility Beliefs

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between clients’ etiological beliefs for depression and treatment preferences, credibility beliefs, and outcome expectations for five different depression treatments—behavioral activation, cognitive therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Adult psychotherapy clients (N = 98) were asked to complete an online survey that included the Reasons for Depression Questionnaire, a brief description of each of the five treatment options, and credibility, expectancy, and preference questions for each option. On average, the participating clients rated pharmacotherapy as significantly less credible, having a lower likelihood of success, and being less preferred than the four types of psychotherapy. In general, interpersonal psychotherapy was also rated more negatively than the other types of psychotherapy. However, these findings depended somewhat on whether the participating client was personally experiencing depression. Credibility beliefs, outcome expectations, and preferences for pharmacotherapy were positively associated with biological beliefs for depression; however, the other hypothesized relationships between etiological beliefs and treatment attitudes were not supported. Although the study is limited based on the specific sample and treatment descriptions that were used, the results may still have implications for psychotherapy research, training, and practice.

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