Effect of Problem-Solving Therapy on Depressed Low-Income Homebound Older Adults' Death/Suicidal Ideation and Hopelessness

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Previous study findings of psychotherapy's effect on suicide prevention have been inconsistent. This study reports the results of secondary analyses of outcome data from a short-term depression treatment on reducing death/suicidal ideation among 158 low-income homebound adults aged 50+. The treatment, in-person or telehealth problem-solving therapy (PST), compared with telephone support call, has been found effective in reducing depressive symptoms and disability among participants. Compared with support call participants, tele-PST participants, but not in-person PST participants, exhibited lower ideation ratings across the follow-up period. Effect sizes at 36 weeks were 0.31 for tele-PST and 0.17 for in-person PST. Hopelessness mediated the effect of tele-PST but not in-person PST; however, in-person PST also alleviated hopelessness, which led to lower ideation. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed.

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