Does age matter? Initial treatment goals of older adults with major depression in outpatient cognitive behavioural therapy

  • Background: Personal treatment goals (PTG) are important means to tailor psychotherapy to the needs of the patient, leading to increased engagement and greater improvement in relevant outcomes. According to lifespan developmental research, motivational goals in old age differ from goals of younger people, with management of losses rather than growth becoming more prevalent. However, this study is the first to systematically investigate age-specific differences in PTGs. Method: We used routine data from patients with major depression assessed at the beginning of outpatient cognitive behavioural therapy. Initial high-priority PTGs were assessed using the Bern Inventory of Treatment Goals (BIT-C). Older patients (≥60 years, n = 52) were matched to younger patients (<60 years, n = 52) with regard to severity of depression, number of comorbidities, gender and level of education. Results: Using a mixed method approach, high-priority PTGs of both age groups were focused most strongly on reducing depressive symptoms and, subsequently, anxiety. At the same time, older patients focused more strongly on PTGs related to well-being and functioning, while younger patients' emphasis was on personal growth. Furthermore, better coping with the ageing process and physical losses emerged as important PTGs for some older patients. Conclusion: Initial PTG themes are specific to diagnosis, but also seem to differ in regard to age. Thus, it is important to develop age-sensitive measures that allow appropriate and efficient tailoring of psychotherapy to meet older patients' needs and preferences.
Author:Mareike C. SittlerORCiD, Franziska Lechner-MeichsnerORCiD, Gabriele WilzGND, Eva-Marie KesslerORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Clinical psychology & psychotherapy
Place of publication:New York, NY [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/13
Date of first Publication:2021/07/13
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/07/11
Tag:CBT; elderly; goal assessment; major depression; tailoring
Page Number:13
First Page:554
Last Page:566
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell 4.0