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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • meta-analysis;
  • psychotherapy;
  • telemental health

Increasingly, the telephone is being used to deliver psychotherapy for depression, in part as a means to reduce barriers to treatment. Twelve trials of telephone-administered psychotherapies, in which depressive symptoms were assessed, were included. There was a significant reduction in depressive symptoms for patients enrolled in telephone-administered psychotherapy as compared to control conditions (d = 0.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.14–0.39, p < .0001). There was also a significant reduction in depressive symptoms in analyses of pretreatment to posttreatment change (d = 0.81, 95% CI = 0.50–1.13, p < .0001). The mean attrition rate was 7.56% (95% CI = 4.23–10.90). These findings suggest that telephone-administered psychotherapy can produce significant reductions in depressive symptoms. Attrition rates were considerably lower than rates reported in face-to-face psychotherapy.