Psychotherapy for depression in adults: a meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies

P. Cuijpers, A. van Straten, G. Andersson, P.C. van Oppen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Although the subject has been debated and examined for more than 3 decades, it is still not clear whether all psychotherapies are equally efficacious. The authors conducted 7 meta-analyses (with a total of 53 studies) in which 7 major types of psychological treatment for mild to moderate adult depression (cognitive-behavior therapy, nondirective supportive treatment, behavioral activation treatment, psychodynamic treatment, problem-solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and social skills training) were directly compared with other psychological treatments. Each major type of treatment had been examined in at least 5 randomized comparative trials. There was no indication that 1 of the treatments was more or less efficacious, with the exception of interpersonal psychotherapy (which was somewhat more efficacious; d = 0.20) and nondirective supportive treatment (which was somewhat less efficacious than the other treatments; d = -0.13). The drop-out rate was significantly higher in cognitive-behavior therapy than in the other therapies, whereas it was significantly lower in problem-solving therapy. This study suggests that there are no large differences in efficacy between the major psychotherapies for mild to moderate depression. © 2008 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-922
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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