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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2014, Article ID 780237, 8 pages
Research Article

Long-Term Effects of the Treatment of Depressive Female Inpatients in a Naturalistic Study: Is Early Improvement a Valid Predictor of Outcome?

1Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmuehlestraße 14/19, 8050 Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Psychology, University of Bern, Fabrikstraße 8, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
3Department of Psychology, University of Basel, Missionsstraße 60/62, 4055 Basel, Switzerland

Received 22 January 2014; Revised 28 May 2014; Accepted 12 June 2014; Published 30 June 2014

Academic Editor: Dietrich van Calker

Copyright © 2014 Elian Zuercher-Huerlimann et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To examine the predictive value of early improvement for short- and long-term outcome in the treatment of depressive female inpatients and to explore the influence of comorbid disorders (CD). Methods. Archival data of a naturalistic sample of 277 female inpatients diagnosed with a depressive disorder was analyzed assessing the BDI at baseline, after 20 days and 30 days, posttreatment, and after 3 to 6 months at follow-up. Early improvement, defined as a decrease in the BDI score of at least 30% after 20 and after 30 days, and CD were analyzed using binary logistic regression. Results. Both early improvement definitions were predictive of remission at posttreatment. Early improvement after 30 days showed a sustained treatment effect in the follow-up phase, whereas early improvement after 20 days failed to show a persistent effect regarding remission at follow-up. CD were not significantly related neither at posttreatment nor at follow-up. At no time point CD moderated the prediction by early improvement. Conclusions. We show that early improvement is a valid predictor for short-term remission and at follow-up in an inpatient setting. CD did not predict outcome. Further studies are needed to identify patient subgroups amenable to more tailored treatments.