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Is cognitive behavioural therapy an effective complement to antidepressants in adolescents? A meta-analysis

  • Raffaella Calati (a1), Laura Pedrini (a2), Sara Alighieri (a3), Mariela Ivana Alvarez (a4), Lorenzo Desideri (a5), Daniele Durante (a6), Federica Favero (a7), Luisa Iero (a8), Giulia Magnani (a5) (a9), Valentina Pericoli (a10), Alexia Polmonari (a11), Roberta Raggini (a12), Elena Raimondi (a5), Valentina Riboni (a13), Maria Cristina Scaduto (a8), Alessandro Serretti (a1) and Giovanni De Girolamo (a2)...


Calati R, Pedrini L, Alighieri S, Alvarez MI, Desideri L, Durante D, Favero F, Iero L, Magnani G, Pericoli V, Polmonari A, Raggini R, Raimondi E, Riboni V, Scaduto MC, Serretti A, De Girolamo G. Is cognitive behavioural therapy an effective complement to antidepressants in adolescents? A meta-analysis.

Objective: Evidence on effectiveness of combined treatments versus antidepressants alone in adolescents consists on a few studies in both major depressive and anxiety disorders. A meta-analysis of randomised 12-week follow-up studies in which antidepressant treatment was compared to combined treatment consisting of the same antidepressant with cognitive behavioural therapy has been performed.

Methods: Data were entered into the Cochrane Collaboration Review Manager software and were analysed within a random effect framework. A quality assessment has been performed through Jadad Scale.

Results: Higher global functioning at the Children's Global Assessment Scale was found in the combined treatment group (p < 0.0001) as well as higher improvement at the Clinical Global Impressions Improvement Scale (p = 0.04). No benefit of combined treatment was found on depressive symptomatology at the Children's Depression Rating Scale – Revised.

Conclusion: Combined treatment seems to be more effective than antidepressant alone on global functioning and general improvement in adolescents with major depressive and anxiety disorders.


Corresponding author

Alessandro Serretti, MD, PhD, Institute of Psychiatry, University of Bologna, Viale Carlo Pepoli 5, 40123 Bologna, Italy. Tel: +39 051 6584233; Fax: +39 051 521030; E-mail:


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