Cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescent depression: A meta-analytic investigation of changes in effect-size estimates

Jesse B. Klein, Rachel H. Jacobs, Mark A. Reinecke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To explicate differences between early and recent meta-analytic estimates of the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for adolescent depression. METHOD: Meta-analytic procedures were used to investigate whether methodological characteristics moderated mean effect sizes among 11 randomized, controlled trials of CBT focusing on adolescents meeting diagnostic criteria for unipolar depression. RESULTS: Cumulative meta-analyses indicated that effects of CBT have decreased from large effects in early trials, and confidence intervals have become narrower. Effect sizes were significantly smaller among studies that used intent-to-treat analytic strategies, compared CBT to active treatments, were conducted in clinical settings, and featured greater methodological rigor based on CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) criteria. The mean posttreatment effect size of 0.53 was statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in estimates of the efficacy of CBT for depressed adolescents may stem from methodological differences between early and more recent investigations. Overall, results support the effectiveness of CBT for the treatment of adolescent depression. Copyright 2007

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1403-1413
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2007


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Depression
  • Meta-analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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