A component analysis of cognitive - Behavioral treatment for depression

Neil S. Jacobson*, Keith S. Dobson, Paula A. Truax, Michael E. Addis, Kelly Koerner, Jackie K. Gollan, Eric Gortner, Stacey E. Prince

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1019 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to provide an experimental test of the theory of change put forth by A. T. Beck, A. J. Rush, B. F. Shaw, and G. Emery (1979) to explain the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CT) for depression. The comparison involved randomly assigning 150 outpatients with major depression to a treatment focused exclusively on the behavioral activation (BA) component of CT, a treatment that included both BA and the teaching of skills to modify automatic thoughts (AT), but excluding the components of CT focused on core schema, or the full CT treatment. Four experienced cognitive therapists conducted all treatments. Despite excellent adherence to treatment protocols by the therapists, a clear bias favoring CT, and the competent performance of CX there was no evidence that the complete treatment produced better outcomes, at either the termination of acute treatment or the 6-month follow-up, than either component treatment. Furthermore, both BA and AT treatments were just as effective as CT at altering negative thinking as well as dysfunctional attributional styles. Finally, attributional style was highly predictive of both short- and long-term outcomes in the BA condition, but not in the CT condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-304
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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