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Focus on positive themes alleviates some depression.

WASHINGTON -- Positive psychotherapy, an approach that focuses patients' attention on the positive aspects of their lives, produced dramatic improvements in individuals with moderate to severe depression in a small pilot study.

The subjects were students (mean age 22 years) seeking treatment at the University of Pennsylvania's counseling center; all met DSM-IV criteria for major depressive disorder and had scores of at least 50 on both the Zung Self-Rating Scale for Depression and the Outcome Questionnaire.

Fourteen subjects were randomized to individual positive psychotherapy (PPT) and 16 to treatment as usual (TAU), while a nonrandomized group of 17, receiving both TAU and antidepressant medications, was included for comparison, Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D., reported at a meeting on positive psychology, sponsored by the Gallup Organization.

Thirteen of the subjects dropped out, leaving 11 in the PPT group, 10 in the TAU group, and 12 in the combination group.

At the end of treatment, the positive psychotherapy group fared better at relieving depressive symptoms on all outcome measures. The mean Zung Self-Rating Scale score was 43.48 for the PPT group, compared with 53.37 for the TAU group and 55.64 for the group receiving TAU and antidepressant medications.

On the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, administered only at the end of treatment, mean scores were 5.24 for the PPT group vs. 11.95 and 10.15 for the TAU group and the combination group, respectively. Across both self-reported measures (the Zung Self-Rating Scale for Depression and the Outcome Questionnaire) and clinician-rated measures (the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression), the average effect size between the PPT and TAU groups was 0.98 and between the PPT and combination therapy groups was 0.87, Dr. Rashad reported.

Remission was achieved by 55% of the PPT patients and 20% of patients in the TAU group, he said.

BY MIRIAM E. TUCKER

Senior Writer
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Title Annotation:Adult Psychiatry
Author:Tucker, Miriam E.
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:317
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