Group Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depressed Iranian Migrants in Austria

  •  Atefeh Fathi    
  •  Walter Renner    
  •  Barbara Juen    


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Group based Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (GCBT) for Iranian migrants with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in Austria. Twenty-three Iranian women and men with an average, 40.4 years old that met DSM-IV criteria for MDD were randomized to the GCBT, Individual CBT, and Waiting-List control groups. All two types of interventions comprised 17 sessions lasting 60 minutes for individual CBT and 120 minutes for GCBT. The results showed a significant reduction in depression symptoms in GCBT group, evaluated by BDI-II, BSI (scale 4), and ATQ. The significant decrease in depression was found for individual CBT group with respect to BDI-II and ATQ as well. However, individual CBT in this study was not successful to decrease depression mood evaluated by BSI (scale 4) from pre- to post-intervention. A significant group differences between GCBT and individual CBT in BSI (scale 4) at post-intervention may highlight that GCBT in this study showed a stronger effect on depressed mood compared to individual CBT. The follow-up measurements revealed a significant deterioration for both groups. The findings from this study suggest that the reasons behind the Iranian migrant’s depression may be related to their chosen dysfunctional acculturation strategies. Therefore, GCBT can be considered an appropriate treatment for Iranian migrants with MDD by encouraging them to be more in contact with people from their own socio-cultural background and motivating them to modify their acculturation attitudes.

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