What makes self-help interventions effective in the management of depressive symptoms? Meta-analysis and meta-regression.

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What makes self-help interventions effective in the management of depressive symptoms? Meta-analysis and meta-regression.

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Title: What makes self-help interventions effective in the management of depressive symptoms? Meta-analysis and meta-regression.
Author: Gellatly, Judith
Bower, Peter
Hennessy, Sue
Richards, David
Gilbody, Simon
Lovell, Karina
Citation: Psychological Medicine, 2007, 37(9): pp. 1217-1228.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Journal: Psychological Medicine
Date Issued: 2007-02
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10036/46773
DOI: 10.1017/S0033291707000062
Links: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=PSM
Abstract: Background. Although self-help interventions are effective in treating depression, less is known about the factors that determine effectiveness (i.e. moderators of effect). This study sought to determine whether the content of self-help interventions, the study populations or aspects of study design were the most important moderators. Method. Randomized trials of the effectiveness of self-help interventions versus controls in the treatment of depressive symptoms were identified using previous reviews and electronic database searches. Data on moderators (i.e. patient populations, study design, intervention content) and outcomes were extracted and analysed using meta-regression. Results. Thirty-four studies were identified with 39 comparisons. Study design factors associated with greater effectiveness were unclear allocation concealment, observer-rated outcome measures and waiting-list control groups. Greater effectiveness was also associated with recruitment in non-clinical settings, patients with existing depression (rather than those ‘at risk ’), contact with a therapist (i.e. guided self-help) and the use of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques. However, only guided self-help remained significant in the multivariate analysis [regression coefficient 0.36, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.05–0.68, p=0.03]. In the subset of guided studies, there were no significant associations between outcomes and the session length, content, delivery mode or therapist background. Conclusions. The results provide some insights into moderators of self-help interventions, which might assist in the design of future interventions. However, the present study did not provide a comprehensive description, and other research methods might be required to identify factors associated with the effectiveness of self-help.
Type: Article
Description: Reproduced with permission of the publisher. © 2007 Cambridge University Press.
Keywords: Self-help interventionsDepression
ISSN: 0033-2917


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