Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Patient education and group counselling to improve the treatment of depression in primary care: a randomized controlled trial
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Psychiatry.
2008 (English)In: Journal of Affective Disorders, ISSN 0165-0327, E-ISSN 1573-2517, Vol. 105, no 1-3, 235-240 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: The Contactus program for depressed patients in primary care, consists of six lectures about depression, each followed by a group discussion. The aim of this study was to investigate if Contactus can improve treatment outcome in comparison to a control group. METHODS: Forty-six primary care centres in Sweden, each randomly allocated either to the Contactus group or to the control group, included depressed patients, 205 in the Contactus group and 114 in the control group. Besides regular treatment of depression, the Contactus group participated in the educational program. At start and after 6 weeks, patients filled in a questionnaire and the self-reports: HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) and GAF-self (Global Assessment of Functioning). RESULTS: After 6 weeks, clinically depressed patients (HAD-depression score >10) had a mean improvement in HAD-D of 4.6 in Contactus vs. 3.0 in controls (p=0.02), and 72% vs. 47% considered themselves to feel better (p=0.01). Increase in GAF score was 11.8 vs. 5.8 (p=0.04), respectively. According to HADS, 55% in Contactus were responders vs. 29% among controls (p=0.006), and 42% vs. 21% (p=0.02) were in remission. LIMITATIONS: Only 40% of the patients in Contactus and 35% among controls were clinically depressed according to the HADS (>10 points) at inclusion. CONCLUSIONS: Patient education and group counselling contributes significantly to better improvement among depressed patients. Group treatment is inexpensive and could be implemented in the routine care of depressed patients in primary care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 105, no 1-3, 235-240 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30520DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2007.04.007PubMedID: 17509694OAI: diva2:284413
Available from: 2010-01-07 Created: 2010-01-07 Last updated: 2011-05-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Depression in primary care: detection, treatment, and patients’ own perspectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Depression in primary care: detection, treatment, and patients’ own perspectives
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background Depression is a very common disorder that causes great suffering for the patient. Recognizing depressed patients in primary care (PC) settings is a challenge and only about half are identified as depressed by their general practitioner (GP). Among patients receiving antidepressants (AD) about 70 % are improved, but only about 35 % reach remission. Hence, there is a need to identify depressed patients and to develop optimal treatment strategies in PC. Self-rating scales can be helpful in assisting the recognition. Patients’ beliefs about the cause of depression and their attitudes towards treatment options have been found to influence their help-seeking behavior, coping strategies, treatment preferences and adherence. To increase depressed patients’ knowledge about their disorder and to help them reach and stay in remission, the “Contactus program” was launched in Sweden, containing patient education and group counseling, as supplement to the usual care in PC.

Aims To explore patients’ beliefs about causes and improvement factors for depression, and evaluate if the Contactus program could help to improve treatment outcome. Also, to investigate the psychometrics of two commonly used self-rating scales for depression, HADS and PHQ-9.

Methods Treatment outcome among patients participating in the Contactus program (N=205) was compared to a control group (N=114) treated as usual. The outcome was measured by HADS, GAF-self and by questionnaires. Both groups also answered an open-ended question about the cause of their depression at baseline and another question about improvement factors at follow-up after six weeks. To compare HADS and PHQ-9, patients (N=737) visiting their physician because of depression filled in both scales. The scales cut-offs were compared with Cohen’s Kappa, internal consistency was calculated and factor analysis was performed. 

Results Depressed patients participating in the Contactus program had a response rate of 55 % compared to 29 % in the control group (p=0.006). Also, remission was reached among 42 % in the Contactus group and 21 % among the controls (p=0.02). The patient’s subjective evaluation of the outcome after six weeks showed that 72% of the Contactus patients considered themselves improved vs. 47% among controls (p=0.01). The most common described reason for depression was current stress, most often work related, and own personality traits. Very few mentioned biological factors. For improvement, the most commonly mentioned aspects were participation in the Contactus program and AD. When comparing HADS to PHQ-9 their agreement at recommended cut-offs, HADS-D≥11 and PHQ-9≥10, was low (k=0.35). The highest Kappa value (0.56) and also equal prevalence of depression were found at HADS-D≥8 and PHQ≥12. Both scales had a high internal consistency (α=0.9).

Conclusions The results of this thesis indicate that patient education and group counseling are valuable supplements to usual treatment of depression in PC. It is also clear that patients and professionals often have different opinions about the causes of depression, at least concerning biological factors. The patients were generally positive to professional help. The patients’ own beliefs about their illness must be considered when developing new types of interventions and when trying to reach an understanding in the patient-doctor encounter. Finally, there are many self-rating scales for depression. Here two scales were compared and both showed good psychometric properties in terms of internal consistency and factor structure. However their optimal cut-offs were questioned. In conclusion, self-rating scales are useful in identifying depressed patients in PC and might also be apt for measuring treatment outcome. Offering the patient education about their disorder and possibility to share experiences seems to increase response and remission rates, substantially. More studies are needed to explore the effects of educational programs, group interventions, and how patients’ own believes interact with the choice of treatment, adherence and outcome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2010. 63 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1308
Depression, primary care, patient education, group counselling, patients’ beliefs, treatment, causes, self-rating scales, HADS, PHQ-9
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30516 (URN)978-91-7264-891-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-01-29, Sal B, Tandläkarhuset, 9 tr, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2010-01-09 Created: 2010-01-07 Last updated: 2010-01-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hansson, MajaBodlund, OweChotai, Jayanti
By organisation
In the same journal
Journal of Affective Disorders

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 131 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link