Department of Psychology

R21 grant from NIMH "Assessing Change in Short-Term Therapy for Depression Using ESM"

Kari Eddington, Paul Silvia, Tom Kwapil

Outcome studies have shown that several forms of psychotherapy are effective for depression, but
questions about how, why, and when these treatments work remain. The proposed study answers the
call for innovative research designs that allow for more intensive, individualized data collection that can
address complex questions about the dynamic nature of treatment-related change. In this R21
application, we propose a proof-of-concept study using an innovative application of experience sampling
methodology (ESM) that combines the idiographic advantages of single-subject research with the
statistical advantages associated with larger samples and multilevel analyses. Adults with primary major depressive disorder will be
randomly assigned to 16 weeks of either self-system therapy (SST) or
treatment-as-usual (TAU). Participants will complete a battery of individual difference and diagnostic
measures at pretreatment. One week of intensive ESM will be collected at both pre- and post-treatment,
during which participants will be signaled at random times during each day to answer questions about
current functioning in several domains (e.g., affect, cognition, and goal pursuit) delivered via a phonebased
interactive voice response (IVR) system. Throughout the 16 weeks of treatment, participants will
complete similar IVR assessments on two randomly-selected days per week. The data to
be obtained from this study will provide a sound empirical and theoretical framework for larger-scale
programmatic research on the nature of treatment-induced change processes in patients with
depression.