This systematic review conducted by the UK National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health set out to review the efficacy of non-pharmacological treatment for depression in people with depression and chronic physical health problems.
They found 35 RCTs that met their inclusion criteria and ended up conducting a meta-anlalysis of 22 studies using a random-effects model.
The bulk of the research supports the use of individual- and group-based cognitive and behavioural interventions. The evidence was strongest for those interventions aimed solely at reducing depression in comparison to those aimed more broadly at reducing the psychosocial stress associated with having a chronic physical health problem.
The authors concluded that:
Overall, the efficacy of certain types of non-pharmacological interventions for people with depression and chronic physical health problems has been demonstrated. The overall impression is that their efficacy in this population is comparable to that in people with depression without chronic physical health problems but the evidence-base is currently inadequate and larger trials with long-term follow-up are required.
Rizzo M, Creed F, Goldberg D, Meader N, Pilling S. A systematic review of non-pharmacological treatments for depression in people with chronic physical health problems. J Psychosom Res. 2011 Jul;71(1):18-27. Epub 2011 May 11. [PubMed abstract]