Hopelessness Among Clinically Depressed Youth

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3 Emily Becker-Weidman, a former staff member of Beck Institute, left us in 2004 to pursue her doctorate in Psychology at Northwestern University. She has recently published her first article, and we’re proud of her!

In their study, Becker-Weidman, Reinecke, Jacobs, and Martinovich (2009), examined predictors of hopelessness among 439 clinically depressed adolescents. Using multiple regression and logistic regression analyses, the authors found hopelessness to be correlated with greater severity of depression, poor problem-solving, cognitive distortions, and familial conflict.  The greatest predictors of hopelessness that emerged among the sample included (1) view of oneself, (2) view of the world, (3) an internal attributional style, (4) need for social approval, (5) a positive problem-solving orientation, and (6) family problems.  The authors concluded that cognitive and familial factors are predictors of hopelessness in clinically depressed youth.

Study Authors: Becker-Weidman, E.G., Reinecke, M.A., Jacobs, R.H., & Martinovich, Z.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Benefited More by CBT than by Short-term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3 A recent randomized controlled study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry compared the efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to either a CBT treatment group or a short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy treatment group that was based on supportive-expressive therapy. Participants in the CBT group focused on “changing and controlling worrying and catastrophizing anticipations” using CBT strategies such as planning recreational activities, worry exposure, relaxation training, and homework.  Participants in the short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy received treatment that focused “on the core conflictual relationship theme associated with the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Emphasis is put on a positive therapeutic alliance.”

The authors found that both CBT and short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy were beneficial in improving the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, they found that CBT was superior in reducing trait anxiety, worry, and depression

Study authors: F. Leichsenring, S. Salzer, U. Jaeger, H. Kachele, R. Kreische, F. Leweke, U. Ruger, C. Winkelbach, E. Leibing

Concreteness Training Improves Depressive Symptoms of Dysphoric Individuals

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3 A recent randomized control study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology was performed to determine if increasing concreteness in the thinking of dysphoric individuals would affect depressive symptoms.

Previous research had shown that a cognitive bias to process self-relevant information in an abstract and overgeneralized manner is related to the onset and maintenance of depression and depressive symptoms. Individuals with this cognitive bias have been labeled as dysphoric individuals.

The current study examined dysphoric individuals to determine whether concreteness training (CNT) would help decrease their cognitive biases and therefore decrease depressive symptoms. The study controlled for the level of depression and all subjects scored at least in the category of mild depressive symptoms at the beginning of treatment. Twenty-one men and 39 women were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The first group received CNT, the second group received bogus concreteness training (BGT), and the third group was a waitlist (WL) control condition that received no treatment. Participants received the specific treatment every day for seven days. At the end of the week, participants were again assessed for depression level and symptoms. Results indicated that CNT showed a trend toward a greater decrease in depressive symptoms than BGT or WL.

Study Authors: E. R. Watkins, C. B. Baeyens, R. Read

Cognitive Therapy and Saudi Culture

Leslie Sokol, Ph.D., Director of EducationRecently, Leslie Sokol, Ph.D., our Director of Education, traveled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to provide a five-day training program to psychiatrists.  “One of the most rewarding parts of my training was weaving their culture into the work I was presenting on Cognitive Therapy.  It was really enriching, for example, to address the cultural tradition of prayer in my lectures on stress and anger management.  For instance, imagine walking down the street, and all of a sudden it’s time for the call to prayer.  The streets are quiet, and the world has stopped to pray for fifteen or twenty minutes.  What could be a better way to incorporate stress management into your life?  It forces you, five times a day, to stop what you’re doing.  For people in Saudi Arabia, it helps them to get in touch with their religion and their spirituality.  But for all of us, can you imagine taking five times a day to allow our frantic, hectic life to be put aside?  We talked about how, for everyone, adding time out during the day would be a good thing.”

Dr. Sokol also described the Muslim call to prayer as an excellent tool for anger management.  “It allows people to take time to reflect on the reasons why they are angry, and to evaluate those reasons to see if they are valid.  Much of the time, after reflection, people realize that the meaning they are ascribing to a given event is inaccurate – that there are alternative explanations for what has happened and that an event wasn’t as catastrophic or upsetting as it seemed.  By having a more reasonable perspective on things, people can behave in more peaceful and productive ways.”

Anorexia Nervosa Relapse Prevention Benefited by CBT

NewStudy-Graphic-72x72_edited-3 A recent clinical study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found preliminary evidence supporting the notion that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is beneficial to preventing relapse and improving outcomes in patients with weight-restored Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The aim of the present study was to compare the relapse prevention effectiveness of CBT versus maintenance treatment as usual (MTAU) for weight-restored AN.

Participants were patients suffering from AN who were part of the inpatient or day hospital program at the Toronto General Hospital Eating Disorders Program. After participants reached a body mass index (BMI) of at least 19.5 for 2-3 weeks, they were able to begin participation in the present study. About half of the participants chose to enter into the CBT treatment condition and the rest received MTAU. Participants in the CBT group focused on addressing thoughts and behaviors about eating and weight that increase the risk of relapse, and then changing those thoughts and behaviors to healthier strategies and skills. In addition cognitive strategies were taught for a broader range of issues, such as self-esteem, interpersonal problems, and developmental issues.

Results showed that participants in the CBT group had a significantly longer time to relapse than those in the MTAU group, with 65% of the CBT group and 34% of the MTAU not having relapsed after 1 year. The authors concluded that “the current findings provide preliminary evidence that CBT may be helpful in improving outcome and preventing relapse in weight-restored AN.”

Study authors: J. C. Carter, T. L. McFarlane, C. Bewell, M. P. Olmsted, D. B. Woodside, A. S. Kaplan, R. D. Crosby