Comparison of psychotherapies for adult depression to pill placebo control groups: a meta-analysis

P. Cuijpers, E.H. Turner, D.C. Mohr, S.G. Hofmann, G. Andersson, M. Berking, J. Coyne

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Background The effects of antidepressants for treating depressive disorders have been overestimated because of selective publication of positive trials. Reanalyses that include unpublished trials have yielded reduced effect sizes. This in turn has led to claims that antidepressants have clinically insignificant advantages over placebo and that psychotherapy is therefore a better alternative. To test this, we conducted a meta-analysis of studies comparing psychotherapy with pill placebo. Method Ten 10 studies comparing psychotherapies with pill placebo were identified. In total, 1240 patients were included in these studies. For each study, Hedges' g was calculated. Characteristics of the studies were extracted for subgroup and meta-regression analyses. Results The effect of psychotherapy compared to pill placebo at post-test was g = 0.25 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.14-0.36, I
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-695
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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