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Publication Briefs

Psychotherapy Administered via Telephone Reduces Depression

Telephone-administered psychotherapy is playing an increasing role in mental health care, and more than two-thirds of psychologists use this type of psychotherapy in their practices. This meta-analysis sought to evaluate the efficacy of telephone-administered psychotherapy in reducing the symptoms of depression. Nine of the twelve studies included in this analysis were randomized controlled trials, and ten studies included control conditions. Findings show a significant reduction in depressive symptoms for patients enrolled in telephone-administered psychotherapy as compared to those in control conditions (e.g. treatment as usual). Moreover, attrition rates were considerably lower than rates reported in face-to-face psychotherapy. For example, the mean attrition rate was 7.6% across these 12 studies compared to 46.9% reported in another meta-analysis of 125 studies that examined drop-out rates for face-to-face psychotherapy.

Mohr D, Vella L, Hart S, Heckman T, and Simon G. The effect of telephone-administered psychotherapy on symptoms of depression and attrition: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice September 2008;15(3):243-53.

Dr. Mohr is part of HSR&D’s Center for Management of Complex Chronic Care in Hines, IL. Ms. Vella and Dr. Hart are part of the San Francisco VAMC.

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HSR requires notification by HSR-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR published articles. Visit the HSR citations database for a complete listing of HSR articles and presentations.

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