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Rumination-focused cognitive-behavioural therapy for residual depression: phase II randomised controlled trial

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Jan Scott


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Background About 20% of major depressive episodes become chronic and medication-refractory and also appear to be less responsive to standard cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Aims To test whether CBT developed from behavioural activation principles that explicitly and exclusively targets depressive rumination enhances treatment as usual (TAU) in reducing residual depression. Method Forty-two consecutively recruited participants meeting criteria for medication-refractory residual depression were randomly allocated to TAU V. TAU plus up to 12 sessions of individual rumination-focused CBT. The trial has been registered (ISRCTN22782150). Results Adding rumination-focused CBT to TAU significantly improved residual symptoms and remission rates. Treatment effects were mediated by change in rumination. Conclusions This is the first randomised controlled trial providing evidence of benefits of rumination-focused CBT in persistent depression. Although suggesting the internal validity of rumination-focused CBT for residua depression, the trial lacked an attentional control group so cannot test whether the effects were as a result of the specific content of rumination-focused CBT v. non-specific therapy effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watkins ER, Mullan E, Wingrove J, Rimes K, Steiner H, Bathurst N, Eastman R, Scott J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Psychiatry

Year: 2011

Volume: 199

Issue: 4

Pages: 317-322

Print publication date: 21/07/2011

ISSN (print): 0007-1250

ISSN (electronic): 1472-1465

Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists


DOI: 10.1192/bjp.bp.110.090282


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