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Depressed Rural HIV Patients May Benefit From Therapy Via Phone

Depressed Rural HIV Patients May Benefit From Therapy Via Phone
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WEDNESDAY, Feb. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Telephone-administered interpersonal psychotherapy (tele-IPT) is associated with longer-term depression relief than usual care in depressed rural people living with HIV (PLHIV), according to a study published online Jan. 25 in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Timothy G. Heckman, Ph.D., from the University of Georgia in Athens, and colleagues assessed tele-IPT’s enduring effects at four- and eight-month follow-up among PLHIV. Tele-IPT patients received nine weekly, one-hour telephone IPT treatments. Standard care controls received no active study treatment but had access to community-based support services. In total, the researchers analyzed data for 147 intent-to-treat patients and 133 therapy completer patients (i.e., patients who completed all nine sessions).

The researchers found in intention-to-treat analyses that there were fewer depressive symptoms in tele-IPT patients than in standard care controls at four-month (P < 0.06) and eight-month follow-up (P < 0.05). When examining only those who completed the sessions, results were similar, with larger effect sizes. At the four-month follow-up, tele-IPT patients used crisis hotlines less frequently than standard care controls (Ps < 0.05).

“This is also the first controlled trial to find that IPT administered over the telephone provides long-term depressive symptom relief to any clinical population,” the authors write.

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