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The feasibility of low intensity psychological therapy for co-occurring depression in adult Autism: The ADEPT study - a pilot randomised controlled trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Oct 2019
DatePublished (current) - 29 Nov 2019


Low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) including behavioural activation is an evidence based treatment for depression, a condition frequently co-occurring with autism. The feasibility of adapting low intensity CBT for depression to meet the needs of autistic adults via a randomised controlled trial (RCT) was investigated. The adapted intervention (Guided Self-Help; GSH) comprised materials for 9 individual sessions with a low intensity psychological therapist. Autistic adults (n=70) with depression (PHQ-9 score ≥10) recruited from National Health Service adult autism services and research cohorts were randomly allocated to GSH or Treatment as Usual (TAU). Outcomes at 10, 16 and 24 weeks post-randomisation were blind to treatment group. Rates of retention in the study differed by treatment group with more participants attending follow-up in the GSH group than TAU. The adapted intervention was well-received, 86% (n=30/35) of participants attended the pre-defined ‘dose’ of 5 sessions of treatment and 71% (25/35) attended all treatment sessions. The findings of this pilot RCT indicate that low intensity CBT informed by Behavioural Activation can be successfully adapted to meet the needs of autistic people. Evaluation of the effectiveness of this intervention in a full scale RCT is now warranted.

    Structured keywords

  • BRTC

    Research areas

  • Autism, RCT, Adults, Depression, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

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  • Full-text PDF (author’s accepted manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via SAGE Publications at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 299 KB, PDF document


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