Impact of Family Problems on Cognitive Therapy for Depression

Although one might speculate that the presence of serious family problems decreases the efficacy of cognitive therapy (CT) for depression, there is actually very little research on this topic. Individuals in CT who reported that relationship problems were a cause of their depression (relative to those who did not) were less likely to complete homework and showed a poorer response to treatment (Addis & Jacobson, 1996). Beach and O'Leary (1992) also found that depressed married women with negative marital environments had more residual depression symptoms after CT than after behavioral couple therapy. Finally, depressed women treated with an antidepressant and either CT or supportive therapy were less likely to remit if they had reported having low support from their husband before beginning treatment (Bromberger, Wisner, & Hanusa, 1994). In summary, the small amount of existing evidence suggests that relationship problems may interfere with response to individual CT.

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