- The influence of patients' attributions of the immediate effects of treatment of depression on long-term effectiveness of behavioural activation and antidepressant medication
- Behaviour Research and Therapy
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Patients' attributions of effects of treatment are important, as these can affect long-term outcome. Most studies so far focused on the influence of attributions to medication for anxiety and depression disorders. We investigated the effects of patients' attributions made after acute treatment on the long-term outcome of antidepressant medication (ADM) and psychological treatment (behavioural activation, BA). Data are based on a randomized trial testing the effectiveness of BA vs. ADM for major depression (MDD) in Iran. Patients with MDD (N = 100) were randomized to BA (N = 50) or ADM (N = 50). Patients' attributions were assessed at post-test (after completion of the treatments). Scores on an attribution questionnaire were factor analysed, and factor scores were retained as predictors of depressive symptoms at 1-year follow-up. Regression analysis was used to test whether attributions predicted depressive symptoms at 1-yr follow-up, controlling for symptom level, condition, and their interaction at post-test. Belief in coping efficacy was the only attribution factor significantly predicting 1-year HRSD scores, controlling for condition, post-test HRSD and their interaction. It also mediated the condition differences at follow-up. Credit to self was the single attribution factor that predicted BDI follow-up scores, controlling for condition, posttest BDI, and their interaction. It partially mediated the condition differences on the BDI at follow-up. Attribution to increased coping capacities and giving credit to self appear essential. In the long-term (at 1 year follow-up), the difference in outcome between BA and ADM (with BA being superior to ADM) is at least partially mediated by attributions.
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