Subsyndromally Depressed Hospitalized Elderly Patients

Recognizing that subthreshold symptoms for major depression impeded recovery of hospitalized elderly patients, Mossey et al. (1996) conducted a trial using a modification of IPT called interpersonal counselling (IPC) (Klerman et al., 1987). Seventy-six hospitalized patients over age 60 with subsyndromal depression were randomly assigned to either 10 sessions of IPC or usual care (UC). A euthymic, untreated control group was also followed. Three-month assessment showed non-significantly greater improvement in depressive symptoms and on all outcome variables for IPC relative to UC, whereas controls showed mild symptomatic worsening. In the IPC and euthymic control groups, rates of rehospitalization were similar and significantly less than the subsyndromally depressed group receiving usual care. After 6 months the IPC group showed statistically significant improvement in depressive symptoms and self-rated health as compared to the UC group. The investigators felt 10 sessions were not enough for some patients, and that maintenance IPC might have been useful.

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