Can We Prevent Depression in At-Risk Older Adults Using Self-Help? The UK SHARD Trial of Behavioral Activation.

Published on Jun 19, 2021in American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry3.393
· DOI :10.1016/J.JAGP.2021.06.006
Simon Gilbody80
Estimated H-index: 80
(Hull York Medical School),
Sally Brabyn13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Ebor: University of York)
+ 8 AuthorsKate Bosanquet7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Ebor: University of York)
Sources
Abstract
BACKGROUND Treatment of established depression is the dominant approach to care of older adults, but prevention holds much promise. Self-help interventions are a feasible preventive approach, since they are scalable and low cost. There are few trials in this area. Behavioral Activation (BA) is a credible candidate psychological approach, which has been shown to work in therapist led care but not been trialled in a self-help form. AIM To test the effectiveness of an unguided self-help intervention based on BA for older adults. METHODS We compared a self-help intervention based on BA for older people (n = 172) to usual care (n = 160) in a pragmatic randomized controlled trial. Outcomes were depression status and severity (PHQ9) and health related quality of life (SF12). The primary timepoint of the primary outcome was depression at 4 months, with longer term follow up at 12 months to test sustained impact of the primary outcome. RESULTS At 4 months adjusted PHQ-9 scores for BA self-help were 0.79 lower (95% CI: -1.70 to 0.13; p = 0.09) and the proportion of participants with case-level depression was significantly reduced (BA 31/137 (22.6%) versus usual care 41/141 (29.1%); Odds Ratio 0.48; 95% CI: 0.26-0.92; p = 0.03). There was no PHQ-9 difference at 12 months or for health related quality of life at any point (4 or 12 months). DISCUSSION Self-help using BA for older people at risk of depression is a feasible and scalable intervention with potential short-term benefits in preventing depression.
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