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The use of cognitive behaviour therapy to treat depression in people with learning disabilities: a systematic review

Caroline Jennings (Trainee Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Institute of Clinical Psychology Training, Isis Education Centre, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK)
Olivia Hewitt (Psychology Service for People with a Learning Disability, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Reading, UK)

Tizard Learning Disability Review

ISSN: 1359-5474

Article publication date: 7 April 2015

1282

Abstract

Purpose

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is currently one of the recommended treatments for depression for the general population and guidance recommends that people with a learning disability should have access to the same treatments as people without a learning disability. The purpose of this paper is to identify, outline and evaluate current research on the effectiveness of CBT for depression for people with a learning disability. The clinical, service and research implications are considered.

Design/methodology/approach

A systematic search was conducted and five relevant articles were identified for critical review.

Findings

There is a limited but promising evidence base for the use of CBT for depression with people with learning disabilities.

Research limitations/implications

The current review identified a number of methodological issues and future research should attempt to overcome these (e.g. small sample sizes and lack of controls). In particular, research should focus on determining the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioural techniques in producing a change in depressive symptoms.

Practical implications

Services (including those provided as part of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) should be offering CBT-based interventions for people with learning disabilities who are experiencing depression.

Originality/value

This paper provides a comprehensive and up to date review of the current literature regarding the use of CBT for depression for people with a learning disability. This will be of value to clinicians working with people with a learning disability as well as those commissioning services.

Keywords

Citation

Jennings, C. and Hewitt, O. (2015), "The use of cognitive behaviour therapy to treat depression in people with learning disabilities: a systematic review", Tizard Learning Disability Review, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 54-64. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-05-2014-0013

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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