Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Psychology

Advisor

Sarah Ketay

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Existing research suggests that the choice of treatment method is crucial in the treatment of major depression because individual patients respond differentially to pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment. This paper examines patient and treatment characteristics that can help to explain this differential response and potentially be used to predict which treatment method will be most effective for an individual patient. Several variables explain why some patients with major depressive disorder respond to antidepressant treatment and/or psychotherapy while others do not and may be useful in matching individual patients with the treatment method that is most likely to be effective for them. Evaluation of patient demographics (in particular, marital status and life events experienced) and personality traits (in particular, presence or absence of neuroticism) may help to predict relative treatment effectiveness. In addition, patient treatment preference and the congruence of that preference with the treatment method received affects treatment outcome differently depending on whether the patient prefers to perceive antidepressant treatment alone, psychotherapy alone, or combined treatment. This paper also addresses the impact that direct-to-consumer advertising, a factor other than comparable effectiveness that influences treatment choice, has on patients’ and physicians’ decision making in the treatment of depression.

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