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Keywords:

  • depressive symptoms;
  • group psychotherapy;
  • HDRS;
  • WHOQOL-BREF

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of group psychotherapy on depressive symptoms and four domains of quality of life in the elderly.

Methods

Ninety-six elderly persons were selected from one apartment building for seniors. The 15-question version of the Geriatric Depression Scale was used to screen for depressive symptoms. The treatment and control groups each comprised 12 subjects. The treatment group received one session of group psychotherapy each week for 8 weeks. The 24-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF scale were used for assessment at the beginning of group psychotherapy and during the fourth and eighth weeks.

Results

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score decreased significantly in the treatment group by the eighth week of group psychotherapy compared to the control group (4.9 ± 3.6 vs 17.6 ± 6.4, respectively; P < 0.0001). The World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF score decreased significantly in the control group by the eighth week compared to the treatment group (95.3 ± 9.9 vs 80.2 ± 10.6, respectively; P = 0.002) with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale interaction (χ2 = 2.11, P = 0.146). Analysis of the four quality of life domains showed significant differences in the psychological and social domains (P = 0.004 and P = 0.004, respectively) but not in the physical and environmental domains (P = 0.133 and P = 0.147, respectively).

Conclusions

These findings suggest that studies of the outcome of group psychotherapy must control for depressive symptoms. Quality of life may have been mediated by depression in this preliminary study.