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Behavioral activation: Is it the expectation or achievement, of mastery or pleasure that contributes to improvement in depression?

Behavioral activation: Is it the expectation or achievement, of mastery or pleasure that contributes to improvement in depression?

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Behavioral activation: Is it the expectation or achievement, of mastery or pleasure that contributes to improvement in depression?

J Affect Disord. 2018 10 01;238:336-341

Authors: Furukawa TA, Imai H, Horikoshi M, Shimodera S, Hiroe T, Funayama T, Akechi T, FLATT Investigators

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Behavioral activation (BA) is receiving renewed interest as a stand-alone or as a component of cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) for depression. However, few studies have examined which aspects of BA are most contributory to its efficacy.
METHODS: This is a secondary analysis of a 9-week randomized controlled trial of smartphone CBT for patients with major depression. Depression severity was measured at baseline and at end of treatment by the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. All aspects of behavioral activation tasks that the participants had engaged in, including their expected mastery and pleasure and obtained mastery and pleasure, were recorded in the web server. We examined their contribution to improvement in depression as simple correlations and in stepwise multivariable linear regression.
RESULTS: Among the 78 patients who completed at least one behavioral experiment, all aspects of expected or achieved mastery or pleasure correlated with change in depression severity. Discrepancy between the expectation and achievement, representing unexpected gain in mastery or pleasure, was not correlated. In stepwise regression, expected mastery and pleasure, especially the maximum level of the latter, emerged as the strongest contributing factors.
LIMITATIONS: The study is observational and cannot deduce cause-effect relationships.
CONCLUSIONS: It may be the expected and continued sense of pleasure in planning activities that are most meaningful and rewarding to individuals, and not the simple level or amount of obtained pleasure, that contributes to the efficacy of BA.

PMID: 29906719 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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