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Gay Men's Health Crisis

Group Therapy for Depression


GMHC Treatment Issues 1997 Oct 1; 11(10): 5

The National Institute of Mental Health is enrolling a study on women and depression in New York, New Jersey and Florida. The study, called the Smart/EST Women's Project, is designed to evaluate the benefit of supportive therapy interventions on quality of life and health status in a group of ethnically diverse women with AIDS. Four hundred fifty participants will be recruited and randomized to either an intervention or control format. The intervention group will attend ten weekly professionally led two-hour group sessions that focus on stress and risk management and relaxation therapy. The control group will attend an equal number of sessions during which time videotapes will be shown on coping with AIDS and stress management. Both groups will be provided with monetary compensation (up to $575), transportation and childcare services.

After the first ten weeks, all participants will be followed monthly during a three-month maintenance phase and semi-annually for one year thereafter. The study will look at quality of life and assess the effects of the interventions on morbidity and mortality. Anyone interested in enrolling in the Miami area may call 305/243-2103 and ask for Rosalind Mathis. In the New York/New Jersey area, call 212/255-3841 and ask for Anna Sanchez (for New York) or Yolene Gousse (for New Jersey).

In California last summer, both HIV-positive men and women began enrolling in a Stanford University School of Medicine study evaluating how group psychotherapy affects both quality of life and health-related behavior. Half of the volunteers are randomized to attend professionally led group meetings. The design of this study, also funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, is based on observations made by Dr. David Spiegal, the study's principal investigator. He previously found that participating in group therapy improved mood and reduced pain in women with breast cancer. Goals include identifying people who will benefit from group therapy, looking at effects on mood and coping and examining whether group therapy reduces risky behavior and improves treatment adherence. One hundred participants have enrolled so far and another 100 are being sought.

Michele Gill, the study recruiter, stated that since 70% of the current participants are men, study organizers want 70% of the next 100 to be women. She acknowledged the difficulty in recruiting HIV-positive women and attributed this in part to problems in contacting eligible women, who may not be as organized as, for instance, men in the gay community. There is also often the issue of family obligations, and provisions have been made for childcare in an effort to remove this obstacle. Anyone in the San Francisco Bay area who is interested in participating should call Michele Gill at 650/723-2661.


Copyright © 1997 -Gay Men's Health Crisis, Publisher. All rights reserved to Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) Treatment Issues. Reproduced with permission. Treatment Issues is published twelve times yearly by GMHC, INC. Noncommercial reproduction is encouraged. Subscription lists are kept confidential. GMHC Treatment Issues, The Tisch Building, 119 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011 Email GMHC. Visit GMHC

Information in this article was accurate in October 1, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.