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Institut für Medizinische Biometrie
und Statistik (IMBI)

Cochrane Systematic Review: prevention of depression in the chronically physically ill

Sponsoring: Internal Project of the Center for Medical Biometry and Statistics, Section of Health Care Research and Rehabilitation Research, Medical Center - University of Freiburg

Duration: Since 2012 (December)

Comorbid depression is a common problem in patients with chronic physical health problems leading to increased symptom burden and medical complications. It is also associated with substantial suffering.  Dealing with comorbid depression has considerable effects on health care utilization and cost.

Hence, the scientific and health care implications of effectively preventing depression onset would be substantial. There is evidence that depression in chronically physically ill patients can be treated effectively. It still needs to be seen whether these treatments prove to be effective as preventive interventions in dealing with potential depression in the chronically physically ill.

This systematic review will give an overview of prevention trials for depression in the chronically physically ill. It will allow conclusions on the effects of prevention. Different types of interventions (psychological and pharmacological) will be examined, allowing to draw conclusions on possible differences and advantages of specific preventive interventions. Furthermore, follow-up data and sources of heterogeneity will be explored and may help to provide suggestions for the design of future studies. Methodological limitations, problems and shortcomings will be discussed and may also help to guide future research. To allow the integration of new evidence and findings, the review will be continuously maintained and updated.


  • Dipl. Psych. Hanna Kampling
  • PD Dr. Harald Baumeister
  • Prof. Dr. Wilfried Jäckel
  • Prof. Dr. Oskar Mittag