Psychotherapy with depressed elderly patients: Research considerations

Jim Mintz, Joanne Steuer, Lissy Jarvik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


There is general agreement that depression is the most common functional psychiatric disorder among the elderly, affecting 7-21% of the population. Since so many of the elderly, especially the depressed elderly, suffer from physical disorders that complicate or contraindicate drug therapy, psychotherapy is potentially a highly desirable treatment modality for many depressed persons in the upper age groups. And yet, elderly people are generally excluded from psychotherapy studies for a variety of methodologial, practical, and ethical reasons. As psychotherapy researchers begin to turn their attention to the treatment of the elderly patient, a number of ethical issues and problems of design and implementation of research with this population must be addressed. The present article explores the issues of patient homogeneity, external validity, internal validity, choosing and implementing specific treatment modalities, therapist experience and attitudes, therapist age, reliability and validity of measures, and problems obtaining follow-up information when studying treatment of depressed elderly patients. (35 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-548
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of consulting and clinical psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • design &
  • implementation of research implications
  • psychotherapy, depressed elderly patients, ethical &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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