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Long-term efficacy of indicated prevention of depression in non-professional caregivers: randomized controlled trial

  • P. Otero (a1), F. Smit (a2) (a3) (a4), P. Cuijpers (a2) (a5), A. Torres (a6), V. Blanco (a1) and F. L. Vázquez (a7)...



Although depression is a common problem among non-professional caregivers, only one trial has evaluated the efficacy of indicated prevention targeting this population and the long-term efficacy is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term efficacy of a brief intervention for the indicated prevention of depression in a sample of female caregivers.


A randomized controlled trial was conducted involving 173 participants (mean age 53.9 years) who were allocated to the intervention (n = 89) or the usual-care control group (n = 84). Blinded interviewers conducted assessments at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. The main outcome measure was the incidence of major depression and the secondary outcomes were compliance with treatment, depressive symptoms, emotional distress and caregiver burden.


At the 12-month follow-up, a lower incidence of depression as evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for Axis I Disorders of the DSM-IV was found in the intervention group compared with the control group (10.1% v. 25.0%). The relative risk was 0.40 and statistically significant [χ2 = 6.68, degrees of freedom = 1, p = 0.010, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20–0.81], and the number needed to treat was 7 (95% CI 4–27). There was a significant delay in the onset of depression in the intervention group (p = 0.008). The good complier caregivers had a lower incidence of depression. The intervention effect on depressive symptoms, emotional distress and caregiver burden were maintained for 12 months.


This is the first study to demonstrate that a brief problem-solving intervention can prevent the onset of depression among non-professional caregivers over the longer term.


Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: P. Otero, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology, Unit of Depressive Disorders, University of Santiago de Compostela, Campus Vida, 15782, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. (Email:


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Long-term efficacy of indicated prevention of depression in non-professional caregivers: randomized controlled trial

  • P. Otero (a1), F. Smit (a2) (a3) (a4), P. Cuijpers (a2) (a5), A. Torres (a6), V. Blanco (a1) and F. L. Vázquez (a7)...


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