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Journal ArticleDOI

Is behavioural activation effective in the treatment of depression in young people? A systematic review and meta-analysis

TL;DR: The review showed that BA may be effective in the treatment of depression in young people, but indicated a number of methodological problems in the included studies meaning that the results and conclusions should be treated with caution.
Abstract: Purpose Depression is currently the leading cause of illness and disability in young people. Evidence suggests that behavioural activation (BA) is an effective treatment for depression in adults but less research focuses on its application with young people. This review therefore examined whether BA is effective in the treatment of depression in young people. Methods A systematic review (International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews reference: CRD42015020453), following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, was conducted to examine studies that had explored behavioural interventions for young people with depression. The electronic databases searched included the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL Plus, PsychINFO, and Scopus. A meta-analysis employing a generic inverse variance, random-effects model was conducted on the included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to examine whether there were overall effects of BA on the Children's Depression Rating Scale – Revised. Results Ten studies met inclusion criteria: three RCTs and seven within-participant designs (total n = 170). The review showed that BA may be effective in the treatment of depression in young people. The Cochrane risk of bias tool and the Moncrieff scale used to assess the quality of the included studies revealed a variety of limitations within each. Conclusions Despite demonstrating that BA may be effective in the treatment of depression in young people, the review indicated a number of methodological problems in the included studies meaning that the results and conclusions should be treated with caution. Furthermore, the paucity of studies in this area highlights the need for further research. Practitioner points Currently BA is included within National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE, 2009) guidelines as an evidence-based treatment for depression in adults with extensive research supporting its effectiveness. It is important to investigate whether it may also be effective in treating young people. Included studies reported reductions in depression scores across a range of measures following BA. BA may be an effective treatment of depression in young people.
Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A preliminary real-world data evaluation of the effectiveness and engagement levels of an AI-enabled, empathetic, text-based conversational mobile mental well-being app, Wysa, on users with self-reported symptoms of depression shows promise.
Abstract: Background: A World Health Organization 2017 report stated that major depression affects almost 5% of the human population. Major depression is associated with impaired psychosocial functioning and reduced quality of life. Challenges such as shortage of mental health personnel, long waiting times, perceived stigma, and lower government spends pose barriers to the alleviation of mental health problems. Face-to-face psychotherapy alone provides only point-in-time support and cannot scale quickly enough to address this growing global public health challenge. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled, empathetic, and evidence-driven conversational mobile app technologies could play an active role in filling this gap by increasing adoption and enabling reach. Although such a technology can help manage these barriers, they should never replace time with a health care professional for more severe mental health problems. However, app technologies could act as a supplementary or intermediate support system. Mobile mental well-being apps need to uphold privacy and foster both short- and long-term positive outcomes. Objective: This study aimed to present a preliminary real-world data evaluation of the effectiveness and engagement levels of an AI-enabled, empathetic, text-based conversational mobile mental well-being app, Wysa, on users with self-reported symptoms of depression. Methods: In the study, a group of anonymous global users were observed who voluntarily installed the Wysa app, engaged in text-based messaging, and self-reported symptoms of depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. On the basis of the extent of app usage on and between 2 consecutive screening time points, 2 distinct groups of users (high users and low users) emerged. The study used mixed-methods approach to evaluate the impact and engagement levels among these users. The quantitative analysis measured the app impact by comparing the average improvement in symptoms of depression between high and low users. The qualitative analysis measured the app engagement and experience by analyzing in-app user feedback and evaluated the performance of a machine learning classifier to detect user objections during conversations. Results: The average mood improvement (ie, difference in pre- and post-self-reported depression scores) between the groups (ie, high vs low users; n=108 and n=21, respectively) revealed that the high users group had significantly higher average improvement (mean 5.84 [SD 6.66]) compared with the low users group (mean 3.52 [SD 6.15]); Mann-Whitney P=.03 and with a moderate effect size of 0.63. Moreover, 67.7% of user-provided feedback responses found the app experience helpful and encouraging. Conclusions: The real-world data evaluation findings on the effectiveness and engagement levels of Wysa app on users with self-reported symptoms of depression show promise. However, further work is required to validate these initial findings in much larger samples and across longer periods.

327 citations


Cites background from "Is behavioural activation effective..."

  • ...Face-to-face therapy and guided self-help techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral activation are known to be effective in treating depression [15,16]....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: There is evidence that CBT is effective for youth with a (subclinical) depression and analyses show that effects might improve when CBT contains the components behavioral activation and challenging thoughts and also when the caregiver(s) are involved.

123 citations


Cites background from "Is behavioural activation effective..."

  • ...A recent meta-analysis found that the component behavioral activation is effective for young people with depression [63]....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: There is some limited evidence to support BA as effective for young people, and fully powered trials are now required, with expansion to delivery in low- and middle-income settings, and detailed consideration of implementation issues that consider culture and environment.
Abstract: Behavioral activation (BA) effectively treats depression in adults, and shows promise in treating anxiety. Research into its application to children and adolescents is emerging. This review aimed to explore the scope of studies, current evidence of effectiveness and how the intervention has been delivered and adapted, to inform future research. A systematic review was undertaken searching PsycInfo, PubMed including Medline, EMBASE, and Scopus for terms relating to BA and children and adolescents. Two researchers scored abstracts for inclusion. Data extraction was completed by one researcher and checked by another. 19 studies were identified, across 21 published articles. 12 were case studies, with three pre–post pilot designs and four randomized-controlled trials. Case studies found early support for the feasibility and potential effectiveness of BA to address both anxiety and depression. The RCTs reported largely positive outcomes. Meta-analysis of depression scores indicated that BA may be effective; however, high heterogeneity was observed. Sample sizes to date have been small. BA has been delivered by trained therapists, doctoral trainee psychologists, social workers, or psychology graduates. Studies are uniquely in high-income settings. Adaptations include flexibility in content delivery, youth friendly materials, and parental involvement. There is some limited evidence to support BA as effective for young people. Feasibility and acceptability are supported. Fully powered trials are now required, with expansion to delivery in low- and middle-income settings, and detailed consideration of implementation issues that consider culture and environment.

53 citations


Cites background or result from "Is behavioural activation effective..."

  • ...Comparing this review with the recent systematic review and meta-analysis focusing on the effectiveness of BA for treating depression in young people [27], there are clear differences in methods that underpin the differences in reported results and discussion....

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  • ...Objectives of review A recently published systematic review with meta-analysis by Tindall and colleagues [27] focused on the effectiveness of BA to treat adolescent depression....

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  • ...As such, this review seeks to extend beyond the scope Tindall and colleagues paper [27], with wider objectives....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A systematic review of mediators of behavioural activation for depression found the evidence for both activation and environmental reward as mediators was weak, and the use of experience sampling methods and idiographic analyses in bigger samples is recommended to investigate potential causal pathways in individual patients.
Abstract: Introduction: Behavioural activation is an effective treatment for depression, but little is known about its working mechanisms. Theoretically, its effect is thought to rely on an interplay between activation and environmental reward. Objective: The present systematic review examines the mediators of behavioural activation for depression. Methods: A systematic literature search without time restrictions in Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, The Cochrane Library, and CINAHL resulted in 14 relevant controlled and uncontrolled prospective treatment studies that also performed formal mediation analyses to investigate their working mechanisms. After categorising the mediators investigated, we systematically compared the studies' methodological quality and performed a narrative synthesis of the findings. Results: Most studies focused on activation or environmental reward, with 21 different mediators being investigated using questionnaires that focused on psychological processes or beliefs. The evidence for both activation and environmental reward as mediators was weak. Conclusions: Non-significant results, poor methodological quality of some of the studies, and differences in questionnaires employed precluded any firm conclusions as to the significance of any of the mediators. Future research should exploit knowledge from fundamental research, such as reward motivation from neurobiology. Furthermore, the use of experience sampling methods and idiographic analyses in bigger samples is recommended to investigate potential causal pathways in individual patients.

29 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Indicated school-based interventions are effective at reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescents immediately postintervention but there is little evidence that these reductions are maintained.
Abstract: Background: Interest in delivering psychological interventions within schools to facilitate early intervention is increasing. However, most reviews have focused on universal or preventative programmes rather than interventions designed to decrease existing symptoms of depression or anxiety. This paper aims to provide a meta-analytic review of randomised controlled trials of indicated psychological interventions for young people aged 10-19 with elevated symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Methods: Eight electronic databases were systematically searched from inception to April 2019 for eligible trials. Study quality was assessed using two scales designed to evaluate psychotherapy intervention trials. Random effects meta-analyses were conducted separately for trials that recruited participants based on symptoms of depression and based on symptoms of anxiety. Results: Data from 45 trials were analysed. Most interventions studied used cognitive and behavioural strategies. Few studies met methodological quality criteria, but effect size was not associated with study quality. Indicated school-based interventions had a small effect on reducing depression symptoms (SMD = 0.34, 95% CI -0.48, -0.21) and a medium effect on reducing anxiety symptoms (SMD=-0.49, 95% CI -0.79, -0.19) immediately post-intervention. Subgroup analyses indicated that interventions delivered by internal school staff did not have significant effects on symptoms. Reductions in depression were maintained at short-term (≤6 months) but not medium (>6 months ≤12) or long-term (>12 month) follow up. Reductions in anxiety symptoms were not maintained at any follow up. Conclusions: Indicated school-based interventions are effective at reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety in adolescents immediately post-intervention but there is little evidence that these reductions are maintained. Interventions delivered by school staff are not supported by the current evidence-base. Further high quality randomised controlled trials incorporating assessment of longer-term outcomes are needed to justify increased investment in school-based interventions for adolescent depression and anxiety.

24 citations

References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The CES-D scale as discussed by the authors is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population, which has been used in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings.
Abstract: The CES-D scale is a short self-report scale designed to measure depressive symptomatology in the general population. The items of the scale are symptoms associated with depression which have been used in previously validated longer scales. The new scale was tested in household interview surveys and in psychiatric settings. It was found to have very high internal consistency and adequate test- retest repeatability. Validity was established by pat terns of correlations with other self-report measures, by correlations with clinical ratings of depression, and by relationships with other variables which support its construct validity. Reliability, validity, and factor structure were similar across a wide variety of demographic characteristics in the general population samples tested. The scale should be a useful tool for epidemiologic studies of de pression.

48,339 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
04 Sep 2003-BMJ
TL;DR: A new quantity is developed, I 2, which the authors believe gives a better measure of the consistency between trials in a meta-analysis, which is susceptible to the number of trials included in the meta- analysis.
Abstract: Cochrane Reviews have recently started including the quantity I 2 to help readers assess the consistency of the results of studies in meta-analyses. What does this new quantity mean, and why is assessment of heterogeneity so important to clinical practice? Systematic reviews and meta-analyses can provide convincing and reliable evidence relevant to many aspects of medicine and health care.1 Their value is especially clear when the results of the studies they include show clinically important effects of similar magnitude. However, the conclusions are less clear when the included studies have differing results. In an attempt to establish whether studies are consistent, reports of meta-analyses commonly present a statistical test of heterogeneity. The test seeks to determine whether there are genuine differences underlying the results of the studies (heterogeneity), or whether the variation in findings is compatible with chance alone (homogeneity). However, the test is susceptible to the number of trials included in the meta-analysis. We have developed a new quantity, I 2, which we believe gives a better measure of the consistency between trials in a meta-analysis. Assessment of the consistency of effects across studies is an essential part of meta-analysis. Unless we know how consistent the results of studies are, we cannot determine the generalisability of the findings of the meta-analysis. Indeed, several hierarchical systems for grading evidence state that the results of studies must be consistent or homogeneous to obtain the highest grading.2–4 Tests for heterogeneity are commonly used to decide on methods for combining studies and for concluding consistency or inconsistency of findings.5 6 But what does the test achieve in practice, and how should the resulting P values be interpreted? A test for heterogeneity examines the null hypothesis that all studies are evaluating the same effect. The usual test statistic …

45,105 citations


"Is behavioural activation effective..." refers background in this paper

  • ...The I2 statistic was 0% (p = .926) suggesting no statistical heterogeneity was present (Higgins et al., 2003)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An Explanation and Elaboration of the PRISMA Statement is presented and updated guidelines for the reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses are presented.
Abstract: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarize evidence relating to efficacy and safety of health care interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, is not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users. Since the development of the QUOROM (QUality Of Reporting Of Meta-analysis) Statement—a reporting guideline published in 1999—there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realizing these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions. The PRISMA Statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this Explanation and Elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA Statement, this document, and the associated Web site (http://www.prisma-statement.org/) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

25,711 citations


"Is behavioural activation effective..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...This review was completed with reference to the guidelines reported in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement (Liberati et al., 2009)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
18 Oct 2011-BMJ
TL;DR: The Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias aims to make the process clearer and more accurate.
Abstract: Flaws in the design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of randomised trials can cause the effect of an intervention to be underestimated or overestimated. The Cochrane Collaboration’s tool for assessing risk of bias aims to make the process clearer and more accurate

22,227 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
21 Jul 2009-BMJ
TL;DR: The meaning and rationale for each checklist item is explained, and an example of good reporting is included and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature are included.
Abstract: Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarise evidence relating to efficacy and safety of healthcare interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, are not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users. Since the development of the QUOROM (quality of reporting of meta-analysis) statement—a reporting guideline published in 1999—there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realising these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions. The PRISMA statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this explanation and elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA statement, this document, and the associated website (www.prisma-statement.org/) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

13,813 citations


"Is behavioural activation effective..." refers methods in this paper

  • ...Methods This review was completed with reference to the guidelines reported in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement (Liberati et al., 2009)....

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  • ...This review was completed with reference to the guidelines reported in the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement (Liberati et al., 2009)....

    [...]