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Do depressed men and women respond similarly to cognitive behavior therapy?
Am J Psychiatry 1994;151:500-505.
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OBJECTIVE: A great majority of the evidence pertaining to the effectiveness of the time-limited psychotherapies as treatments of major depression are derived from studies of either predominantly or entirely female subject groups. Depressed men and women differ in a number of important respects that may alter the course of affective disorder, and as a result, they may also differ in their responses to psychotherapy. In this study the outcomes of 40 men and 44 women treated with cognitive behavior therapy were compared. METHOD: The patients were interviewed with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia and diagnosed according to the Research Diagnostic Criteria and DSM-III-R criteria. Subsequently, they were assessed every other week (with the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Beck Depression Inventory, and Global Assessment Scale) during a standardized, time- limited cognitive behavior therapy protocol. The outcomes of the men and women were compared by means of a series of analyses of variance and covariance and survival analyses. RESULTS: There were several significant pretreatment differences, and the men attended significantly fewer therapy sessions than the women. Although the men and women generally had comparable responses, patients with higher pretreatment levels of depressive symptoms, particularly women, had poorer outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides further evidence of gender-specific differences in depressed patients' symptoms and treatment utilization. Cognitive behavior therapy appears to be a comparably useful outpatient treatment for men and women. However, either more intensive cognitive behavior therapy or alternative methods of treatment may be warranted for patients with more severe syndromes.

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