Patient Perspectives On The Benefits Of Psychotherapy For Late-Life Depression

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Dakin, Associate Professor, Departmental Honors Program Director (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Objectives: The future of psychotherapy research lies in the development of easy-to-use, efficient treatments that target specific characteristics and needs of patients with a given disorder. Meeting this aim will involve understanding why people seek psychotherapy and the therapeutic features that they feel are most helpful in their recovery. Identifying key features of treatment that patients feel lead to improvement may help identify the active ingredients of psychotherapy and further refine treatment. Design: We selected 22 older adults who participated in a larger randomized trial of psychotherapy for late-life depression to participate in individual, semistructured qualitative interviews. Setting: Interviews took place at the University of California, San Francisco or in the participant's home. Participants: All participants were age 60 years or older with major depression and co-occurring executive dysfunction. Measurements: Participants were asked about their depression experience, their expectations for treatment, most and least helpful aspects of treatment, effects of treatment, and recommended improvements to treatment. Data were transcribed, coded, and analyzed using NVivo (QSR International, Cambridge, MA). Results: The most commonly noted causes for seeking treatment were depression related to interpersonal relationships, health conditions, grief/loss, finances, housing, and challenges due to executive dysfunction. Participants had few expectations about treatment and they found support, the problem-solving therapy process, and focus on interpersonal relationships to be the most helpful processes in treatment. Conclusion: Suggestions for psychotherapy include increasing the number of sessions, discussing problems in a more proactive way, and considering participant choice in treatment. This research demonstrates the value of mixed-methods approaches, in that qualitative approaches assist in contextualizing and interpreting quantitative data.

Additional Information

Dakin, Emily & Areán, Patricia. (2013). Patient Perspectives on the Benefits of Psychotherapy for Late-Life Depression. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 21. 155-63. 10.1016/j.jagp.2012.10.016. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2013
Psychotherapy, late-life depression, patient perspectives

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