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Maintenance Psychotherapies for Older Adults: A Scoping Review.

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: Given the chronicity of depression and anxiety disorders in late life, maintenance treatments may have a role in preserving healthy functioning. This study aims to understand the state of the science on maintenance psychotherapies for Black, Asian, and Latinx older adults.

DESIGN: Scoping review.

METHODS: A priori protocol was prospectively published. Four databases were searched up to December 1, 2021. Eligible studies were conducted in the United States or Puerto Rico and focused on maintenance psychotherapies treating depression, anxiety, or both in adults 60+. Due to the underrepresentation of Black, Asian, and Latinx participants, studies were included irrespective of the participant's racial or ethnic background.

RESULTS: A total of 3,623 unique studies were retrieved, and eight studies were included. Two studies represented randomized clinical trials, and six were studies of post hoc analyses. All studies were from the same research team, had similar maintenance treatments, and focused on depression. Studies included racially homogenous samples (94-98% White). The primary outcome was the recurrence of a major depressive episode. Across studies, maintenance psychotherapy shows promise in preventing the recurrence of depression in some older adults.

CONCLUSION: Expanding the scope of knowledge from achieving optimal functioning to sustaining those changes in older adults is a significant public health challenge given symptom recurrence. The small body of knowledge on maintenance psychotherapies shows a promising direction in maintaining healthy functioning following recovery from depression. However, opportunities remain to expand the evidence of maintenance psychotherapies with a more significant commitment to the inclusion of diverse populations.

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