Original Article

One-Visit Behavioral Intervention for Older Primary Care Patients with Mild to Moderate Depressive Symptoms

Authors: Amber M. Gum, PhD, Lawrence Schonfeld, PhD, Susan Tyler, MA, MPH, Sarah Fishleder, MA, MPH, Lucy Guerra, MD, MPH


Objectives: We pilot tested a one-visit behavioral intervention with telephone follow-up for older primary care patients with mild to moderate depressive symptoms.

Methods: A total of 16 English-speaking primary care patients aged 60 years and older who scored 5 to 14 on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) engaged in the intervention visit. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 4 weeks: activity goals, readiness to change (University of Rhode Island Change Assessment), PHQ-9, Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0, and satisfaction.

Results: The 14 participants who completed the study met or exceeded 73% of activity goals on average. They also improved on all outcomes ( P < 0.05) with medium (University of Rhode Island Change Assessment, GAD-7) to large effect sizes (PHQ-9, World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0), and they were satisfied.

Conclusions: This pilot study provided preliminary evidence that a one-visit behavioral activation intervention is acceptable and feasible and improves outcomes. If findings are confirmed, then this intervention could be integrated into existing collaborative care programs.

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