Improvement in social-interpersonal functioning after cognitive therapy for recurrent depression

Jeffrey R. Vittengl, L. A. Clark, Robin B. Jarrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Background. Cognitive therapy reduces depressive symptoms of major depressive disorder, but little is known about concomitant reduction in social-interpersonal dysfunction. Method. We evaluated social-interpersonal functioning (self-reported social adjustment, interpersonal problems and dyadic adjustment) and depressive symptoms (two self-report and two clinician scales) in adult outpatients (n = 156) with recurrent major depressive disorder at several points during a 20-session course of acute phase cognitive therapy. Consenting acute phase responders (n=84) entered a 2-year follow-up phase, which included an 8-month experimental trial comparing continuation phase cognitive therapy to assessment-only control. Results. Social-interpersonal functioning improved after acute phase cognitive therapy (dyadic adjustment d=0.47; interpersonal problems d=0.91; social adjustment d=1.19), but less so than depressive symptoms (d=1.55). Improvement in depressive symptoms and social-interpersonal functioning were moderately to highly correlated (r=0.39-0.72). Improvement in depressive symptoms was partly independent of social-interpersonal functioning (r=0.55-0.81), but improvement in social-interpersonal functioning independent of change in depressive symptoms was not significant (r=0.01-0.06). In acute phase responders, continuation phase therapy did not further enhance social-interpersonal functioning, but improvements in social-interpersonal functioning were maintained through the follow-up. Conclusions. Social-interpersonal functioning is improved after acute phase cognitive therapy and maintained in responders over 2 years. Improvement in social-interpersonal functioning is largely accounted for by decreases in depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-658
Number of pages16
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvement in social-interpersonal functioning after cognitive therapy for recurrent depression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this