Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Clients with Major Depression in Residential Substance Abuse Treatment

Published In: Psychiatric Services, v. 63, no. 6, June 2012, Brief Reports, p. 608-611

Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2012

by Katherine E. Watkins, Sarah B. Hunter, Kimberly A. Hepner, Susan M. Paddock, Annie Jie Zhou, Erin Dela Cruz

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OBJECTIVE: The BRIGHT (Building Recovery by Improving Goals, Habits, and Thoughts) study was a community-based effectiveness trial that compared residential substance abuse treatment with residential treatment plus group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression. This brief report focuses on the subgroup of participants with major depression. METHODS: The authors used a quasi-experimental design and an intent-to-treat analysis. Out of 299 participants enrolled, 135 had major depression. Primary outcomes were change in depression symptoms, mental health functioning, and days of alcohol use and problematic substance use. RESULTS: At the three-month follow-up, participants with major depression reported less severe depression and better functioning, compared with participants with major depression who received usual care. At six months, functioning continued to be higher and problem substance use was lower. CONCLUSIONS: Group CBT was an effective treatment for major depression for clients in residential substance abuse treatment. These results extend the effectiveness of group CBT for major depression to a new setting, patient population, and type of provider.

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