Counseling in Primary Care Improves Depression and Quality of Life

MG Carta 4, D Petretto 1, *, S Adamo 4, KM Bhat 2, ME Lecca 4, G Mura , V Carta 4, M Angermeyer 3, 4, MF Moro 4
1 Department of Education, Psychology, Philosopy University of Cagliari, Italy
2 Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine, Galveston, Texas, USA
3 Center for Public Mental Health, Gosing and Wagram, Vienna, Austria
4 Centro di Psichiatria di Consultazione e Psicosomatica, University of Cagliari and AOU Cagliari, Italy

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© Carta et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Centro di Psichiatria di Consultazione e Psicosomatica Via Ospedale 117 09100 Cagliari, Italy; Tel/Fax +39 070 6093498; E-mail:



To measure the effectiveness on Quality of Life of adjunctive cognitive behavioral counseling in the setting of General Practitioners (GPs) along with the treatment as usual (TAU;) for the treatment of depression.


Six month-controlled trial of patients who were referred to randomly assigned GPs (four for experimental group of patients and ten for the control) was done. Experimental sample had 34 patients with DSM-IV diagnosis of Depression (Depressed Episode, Dysthymia, or Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood) receiving the TAU supplemented with counseling. Control group had 30 patients with diagnosis of Depression receiving only the TAU.


The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) score improved in both groups. Patients in the experimental group showed greater improvement compared to the control group at T2. The World Health Organization Quality OF Life Questionnaire (WHOQOL) score also improved in the experimental group but not in the control group. The improvement in the experimental group was statistically significant in terms of both BDI and WHOQOL scores.


Adding counseling to TAU in general medical practice settings is more effective in controlling the symptoms of depression and improving the quality of life as measured over a period of six months, than TAU alone. These results while encouraging, also calls for a larger study involving a largersample size and a longer period of time.

Keywords: Counseling, Primary Care, Depression, Quality of Life, Cognitive Behavior Therapy.