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Utility of in-session assessments during cognitive behavioral therapy for depression after traumatic brain injury: Results from a randomized controlled trial.

NeuroRehabilitation 2024 January 24
BACKGROUND: The development of depression after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be used to treat post-TBI depression, but the symptoms response is poorly described.

OBJECTIVE: This secondary analysis assessed: (1) the trajectory of depression symptoms up to 12 sessions of CBT, (2) which depressive symptom clusters were responsive to in-person and phone CBT, and (3) whether interim depression thresholds predict 16-week treatment response.

METHOD: This secondary analysis of the IRB-approved Life Improvement Following Traumatic Brain Injury trial included 100 adults with major depressive disorder (MDD) within ten years of moderate to severe traumatic brain injury from throughout the US. We used a combination of descriptive, graphical, and diagnostic accuracy methods.

RESULTS: Cardinal and cognitive-affective symptom clusters improved most from CBT over 16 weeks. At 8 and 16 weeks, the most responsive individual symptoms were anhedonia, depressed mood, and fatigue; the least responsive were sleep and appetite. PHQ-9 thresholds with a Negative Predictive Value greater than 0.7 for sessions 6, 7, and 8 were, respectively: >15, >10, and >9.

CONCLUSION: In-person and phone CBT led to similar symptom responses during treatment. Additionally, using PHQ-9 thresholds for predicting intervention response within eight sessions may help identify the need for treatment adjustments.

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