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Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Late-life Depression and its Potential Application in China

Authors Xu H, Koszycki D

Received 1 February 2020

Accepted for publication 27 July 2020

Published 7 August 2020 Volume 2020:16 Pages 1919—1928


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jun Chen

Hua Xu,1,2 Diana Koszycki2,3

1Department of Psychiatry, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Faculty of Education and Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; 3Institut du Savoir Montfort, Hôpital Montfort, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence: Hua Xu; Diana Koszycki Email;

Abstract: Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) is a time-limited, structured, interpersonally oriented psychotherapy, with demonstrated efficacy for the treatment of major depression across the lifespan. IPT uses a medical model of illness and links depressed mood to four research-informed interpersonal problem areas: complicated grief, role transitions, role disputes, and interpersonal deficits/sensitivity. The IPT model of vulnerability to depression nicely dovetails with interpersonal issues that are faced by older adults, and this article focuses on the application of IPT for late-life depression in China. The group format of IPT may be a practical and efficient method of improving access to an established depression-focused treatment for China’s rapidly aging population and has the advantage of providing important social support for patients who feel lonely, isolated, and stigmatized. Short-term interventions like IPT are more cost-effective from a public health perspective and can easily be delivered in primary care facilities, where many elderly patients receive care. IPT is effective in different cultures, and possible cultural adaptations of IPT for older adults in China are discussed herein.

Keywords: interpersonal psychotherapy, late-life depression, cultural adaptation, China

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