A meta-analytic database of randomised trials on psychotherapies for depression

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Description: Background. The number of trials on psychotherapies for adult depression is very large and is quickly growing. Because of this large body of knowledge, it is important that the results of these studies are summarized and integrated in meta-analytic studies. More than a decade ago we developed a meta-analytic database of these trials, which was updated yearly through systematic literature searches. Recently, we developed a new version of this meta-analytic database, built on the systems and experience from our earlier database, but with completely new searches and improved methods. In this paper we will describe the methods and some first results of this database. Description. We conducted systematic literature searches in bibliographical databases (PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials to identify all trials on psychotherapy for adult depression (deadline January 1st, 2019). We excluded trials on maintenance and relapse prevention, dissertations, collaborative care, and studies not published in English, German, Spanish or Dutch. After reading 21,976 records (16,701 after exclusion of duplicates), we included 661 randomized trials. We distinguished the following categories of trials: Psychotherapy versus pharmacotherapy (65 studies), combined treatment versus pharmacotherapy alone (46), combined treatment versus psychotherapy alone (29), combined treatment versus psychotherapy plus placebo (18), psychotherapy versus control (335), psychotherapy versus another therapy (109), psychotherapy for inpatients (34), unguided self-help interventions (48), comparisons of different treatment formats (38), cognitive bias modification (14) and other comparisons (99). Over the years we have published several dozens of meta-analyses using this databases (including its previous versions). Conclusion. Psychotherapy for depression is definitely the best studied type of psychotherapy for any mental health problem. We hope that our database can be used as a resource for researchers who want to conduct systematic reviews and meta-analyses of subgroups of these studies.

License: CC0 1.0 Universal

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Depression is a highly prevalent, disabling and costly disorder that is linked with considerably diminished role functioning and quality of life, medical comorbidity and mortality (1–4). Psychological therapies are one of the first-line treatments of depression, and in the past decades several hundreds of randomized trials have examined the effects of these therapies. Several types of therapy have...

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