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Social skills training compared with pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy in the treatment of unipolar depression
Am J Psychiatry 1981;138:1562-1567.
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The authors contrasted four treatments for unipolar (nonpsychotic) depression: 1) amitriptyline, 2) social skills training plus amitriptyline, 3) social skills training plus placebo, and 4) psychotherapy plus placebo. They studied 72 female outpatients, 52 of whom completed the 12 weeks of treatment. The four treatments, conducted by experienced clinicians, were not substantially different from one another. Each treatment produced significant and clinically meaningful changes in symptomatology and social functioning. However, the authors identified several notable differences across groups: a significant difference in dropout rates (from a high of 55.6% for the amitriptyline group to a low of 15% for the social skills plus placebo group) and a significant difference in the proportion of patients who were substantially improved. The social skills plus placebo treatment was the most effective treatment on this dimension.

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