Culturally Adapted Psychotherapies For Depressed Adults : A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis

Background. There is current debate about the effectiveness and generalizability of evidence-based psychological therapies in treatment of depression for diverse ethno-cultural groups. This has led to increasing interest in culturally adapted psychotherapies (CAPs).


Methods. Studies on CAPs for face-to-face treatment of depressed adults were identified using nine electronic database searches. Data on the process of adaptation was analysed using thematic analysis and treatment efficacy was assessed through meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.


Results. Fifteen studies were included in the review, of which eight were included in a meta-analysis. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Behavioural Activation were commonly selected approaches for CAPs, mainly based on their strong evidence base for effectiveness. Twelve studies reported the adaptation process that follows all or some phases recommended by the Medical Research Council Framework for developing complex interventions. A meta-analysis of 16 RCTs, which included eight studies from the current review and eight studies from an earlier review, (Chowdhary et al. (2014) demonstrated a statistically significant benefit in favour of CAPs, reducing symptom burden [standardized mean difference −0.63, 95% confidence interval −0.87 to −0.39]. Subgroup analysis showed a larger effect when the intervention was for the majority ethnic group in a population, rather than a minority group.


Limitations. Some studies did not report all relevant information, and in the subgroup analysis only three studies were of minority groups.


Conclusions. CAPs were confirmed to be more efficacious than control treatments. This supports the continued development and evaluation of culturally adapted psychotherapies for depression.





•  Interest in culturally adapted psychotherapies (CAPs) for depression is increasing

•  Adaptation processes usually follow the MRC framework for development of complex interventions

•  CAPs are more efficacious than control conditions

•  CAPs work better for majority ethnic groups than minority ethnic groups

•  CAPs have the potential to help reduce the global health burden of depression


Evrim Anik, Robert M. West, Alastair G. Cardno, Ghazala Mir | 2021
In: Journal of Affectieve Disorders ; ISSN : 0165-0327 | 278 | januari | 296-310
Adults, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cultural Values, Depressive Disorders, Efficacy, Ethnic Identity, Evidence Based Treatment, Major Depressive Disorder, Meta Analysis, Psychotherapy, Randomized Clinical Trial, Systematic Review