A therapeutic application of the experience sampling method in the treatment of depression: a randomized controlled trial

Ingrid Kramer*, Claudia J. P. Simons, Jessica A. Hartmann, Claudia Menne-Lothmann, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, Frenk Peeters, Koen Schruers, Alex L. van Bemmel, Inez Myin-Germeys, Philippe Delespaul, Jim van Os, Marieke Wichers

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In depression, the ability to experience daily life positive affect predicts recovery and reduces relapse rates. Interventions based on the experience sampling method (ESM-I) are ideally suited to provide insight in personal, contextualized patterns of positive affect. The aim of this study was to examine whether add-on ESM-derived feedback on personalized patterns of positive affect is feasible and useful to patients, and results in a reduction of depressive symptomatology. Depressed outpatients (n=102) receiving pharmacological treatment participated in a randomized controlled trial with three arms: an experimental group receiving add-on ESM-derived feedback, a pseudo-experimental group participating in ESM but receiving no feedback, and a control group. The experimental group participated in an ESM procedure (three days per week over a 6-week period) using a palmtop. This group received weekly standardized feedback on personalized patterns of positive affect. Hamilton Depression Rating Scale - 17 (HDRS) and Inventory of Depressive Symptoms (IDS) scores were obtained before and after the intervention. During a 6-month follow-up period, five HDRS and IDS assessments were completed. Add-on ESM-derived feedback resulted in a significant and clinically relevant stronger decrease in HDRS score relative to the control group (p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-77
JournalWorld Psychiatry
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014

Keywords

  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • experience sampling method
  • intervention study
  • psychological feedback
  • depressive disorder
  • positive affect

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