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Time-intensive behavioural activation for depression: A multiple baseline study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sarah Miles, G Brown, A Corfe, C Hallett, J Wingrove, J Wheatley, D Veale

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Dec 2018

King's Authors


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Depression is the second leading cause of disability, worldwide, and increasing access to its effective/preferred treatment requires more attention. Behavioural activation and time-intensive treatment delivery both show promise in this regard, yet research into their combination is limited. This study aimed to investigate the feasibility, effectiveness, and acceptability of time-intensive behavioural activation (BA) for depression METHODS: Eight adults with major depressive disorder were recruited from three outpatient IAPT services in London. The study employed a single case experimental design with multiple baselines. All participants completed time-intensive BA, consisting of up to seven twice weekly sessions with daily prompting in-between and three optional booster sessions. Idiographic, standardised and process measures of depression symptomatology were collected.

RESULTS: Treatment recruitment and retention indicated that the intervention was feasible. Visual and statistical analyses showed that relative to baseline, 6 out of 8 participants made significant improvements in all idiographic symptoms of depression following the intervention. According to standardised measures of depression, four out of eight participants were considered treatment responders. Five participants completed follow-up measures and the majority of progress was maintained after the withdrawal of the intervention. The intervention was also considered highly acceptable by participants and therapists.

LIMITATIONS: Conclusions cannot be drawn about the generalizability or the long-term durability of the findings CONCLUSIONS: Overall this study provides new, but tentative evidence highlighting the potential of time-intensive BA as a feasible, effective and acceptable treatment for some adult outpatients with depression. The findings now warrant further, more rigorous evaluation of the treatment.

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