Cognitive behavioral therapy significantly improved depression and quality of life among older and younger veterans, according to data published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.
Bradley Karlin, PhD, of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and colleagues compared the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for depression (CBT-D) and quality of life changes in older and younger veterans (n=864) who received therapy from professionals in a competency-based training program as part of the VA CBT-D dissemination and implementation initiative, according to the study.
Researchers used the Beck Depression Inventory-II and WHO Quality of Life-BREF; they also examined therapeutic alliance using the Working Alliance Inventory-Short Revised (WAI-SR).
CBT-D was administered to 764 veterans aged 18 to 64 years and to 100 veterans aged at least 65 years. Sixty-eight percent of older patients and 68.3% of younger patients completed therapy or finished early due to symptom resolution.
There was a significant reduction in mean depression scores among the older (from 27 to 16.2) and younger (from 29.1 to 17.8) groups (P<.001 for both).
With the exception of physical quality of life among older patients, changes in WAI-SR and quality-of-life scores also were statistically significant at final assessment among older and younger veterans.
"The wide availability of this effective and well-accepted therapy for older patients might help reduce the large gap between older individuals who would benefit from, but have not received, treatment for depression," researchers wrote. "It is hoped that the current results will encourage older adults to seek treatment, as well as encourage mental health practitioners to provide and primary care practitioners to refer for CBT with older patients."
Disclosure: The project was supported by Mental Health Services within the US Department of Veterans Affairs Central Office.