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Review: interpersonal psychotherapy is effective as an acute or maintenance treatment for unipolar depression

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Is interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) effective as an acute or maintenance therapy in the treatment of unipolar depression?


A range of measures of effectiveness were included in the meta-analysis, including ratings on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI).



Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources

PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Dissertation Abstracts International were searched to January 2010, as well as an online database of studies of psychotherapy for depression ( Additional studies were identified using previous meta-analyses and hand searches of reference lists of included studies.

Study selection and analysis

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in adolescents or adults with unipolar depressive disorder where IPT was delivered as a primary or maintenance therapy were eligible. Control groups could include placebo, usual care, waiting list, medication or other psychological treatments. Eligibility was assessed by two reviewers. Random effects meta-analysis was conducted using effect sizes derived from the study findings (Cohen's d), using comprehensive meta-analysis software. If studies included more than one outcome, a single pooled effect size was calculated for that study. Heterogeneity …

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  • Sources of funding Sources of funding Dr Markowitz is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and receives minor royalties from books on psychotherapy. No other study or investigator funding was reported.


  • Competing interests None.

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