The Effect of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy versus Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Adults with Depression: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials

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Background: The effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) in treating depressive disorders has been previously demonstrated; However, the question as to whether one of them is superior remains. This paper conducted a systematic review aiming to compare the efficacy of the two treatments in individuals with depression. Methods: A systematic search was conducted based on PsycINFO, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, and PsycEXTRA using the terms (depression OR depressive disorders) AND (cognitive behavioural therapy OR cognitive behaviour therapy OR cognitive behavioral therapy OR cognitive behavior therapy OR CBT) AND (interpersonal therapy OR IPT). The quality of the included studies was assessed with the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme and the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. Narrative synthesis was used to were to summarise and analyse the therapeutic outcomes. Results: Twelve studies were included in this study, with a total of 1587 patients. Overall, scores on depression measures showed that both treatments decreased the prevalence of symptoms. No significant difference was found between CBT and IPT across all of the studies. Conflicting results were found with regards to the effectiveness of the interventions during follow-up phases. Conclusions: Although no significant difference was detected between CBT and IPT immediately post-treatment, it was not possible to draw the same conclusion at the follow-up phase due to the insufficient number of papers that reported the follow-up results. Importantly, this review recommends considering moderating variables when comparing the two interventions within clinical and research contexts.