4/14/2021Treatment Goals of Depressed Outpatients: A Qualitative Investigation of Goals Identified by Participants in a Depression Treatment Trial1/8J Psychiatr Pract.Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jun 25.Published in final edited form as:J Psychiatr Pract. 2010 Nov; 16(6): 425–430.doi:10.1097/01.pra.0000390763.57946.93PMCID: PMC4070877NIHMSID: NIHMS279355PMID:21107149Treatment Goals of Depressed Outpatients: A QualitativeInvestigation of Goals Identified by Participants in a DepressionTreatment TrialCynthia L. Battle, Ph.D.,Lisa Uebelacker, Ph.D.,Michael A. Friedman, Ph.D.,Esteban V. Cardemil, Ph.D.,Christopher G. Beevers, Ph.D.,andIvan W. Miller, Ph.D.Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Butler Hospital, Providence, RIManhattan Cognitive-Behavioral Associates, New York, NYFrancis L. Hiatt School of Psychology at Clark University, Worcester, MADepartment of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TXCorresponding author: Cynthia L. Battle, Ph.D.[email protected]Copyright noticePublisher's DisclaimerAbstractTreatment goals and preferences of depressed patients are important, but they are rarely empiricallystudied. Although clinicians are likely to discuss goals with individual patients, research that clarifiesoverall patterns in the treatment goals of depressed patients could be useful in informing newinterventions for depression. Such research could also potentially help address problems such as pooradherence and psychotherapy drop-out. In this preliminary qualitative investigation, we examinedtreatment goals established by depressed outpatients in the context of a trial of behaviorally orientedpsychotherapy. The treatment goals that were most commonly articulated included improving socialand family relationships, increasing physical health behaviors, finding a job, and organizing one’shome. These results underscore the fact that, in addition to improvement in the symptoms ofdepression, functional improvements are viewed as key treatment goals by depressed individuals.Keywords:depression, treatment, goals, psychotherapyINTRODUCTIONMajor depressive disorder (MDD) is one of the most prevalent and costly psychiatric disorders, withlifetime prevalence rates of approximately 20% of women and 10% of men in the United States.Inaddition to the distress associated with MDD itself, patients often struggle with substantial functionalimpairments at home, work, and school, and in social relationships,contributing to the fact thatdepression has been ranked as the leading psychiatric disorder causing disability.Fortunately,effective psychosocial and pharmacologic treatments have been developed, including cognitive-behavioral therapies, interpersonal psychotherapy, and a wide range of antidepressant medications.