Psychological Medicine

Duration of relapse prevention after cognitive therapy in residual depression: follow-up of controlled trial

E. S. PAYKEL a1c1, J. SCOTT a1, P. L. CORNWALL a1, R. ABBOTT a1, C. CRANE a1, M. POPE a1 and A. L. JOHNSON a1
a1 Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, UK; Department of Psychiatry, University of Newcastle, UK; the Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK; MRC Biostatistics Unit, Cambridge, UK

Article author query
paykel es   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
scott j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
cornwall pl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
abbott r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
crane c   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
pope m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
johnson al   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Background. Although there is good evidence that cognitive therapy (CBT) lessens relapse and recurrence in unipolar depression, the duration of this effect is not known.

Method. One hundred and fifty-eight subjects, from a randomized controlled trial of CBT plus medication and clinical management versus medication and clinical management alone, were followed 6 years after randomization (4[fraction one-half] years after completion of CBT) and the longitudinal course assessed.

Results. Effects in prevention of relapse and recurrence were found to persist, with weakening, and were not fully lost until 3[fraction one-half] years after the end of CBT. Residual symptoms were also lessened.

Conclusions. The effect of CBT in reduction of relapse and recurrence persists for several years. The potential value of subsequent additional CBT some time after cessation should be explored.

c1 Professor E. S. Paykel, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Douglas House, 18E Trumpington Road, Cambridge CB2 2AH, UK. (Email: