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Precision medicine for long-term depression outcomes using the Personalized Advantage Index approach: cognitive therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy?

  • Suzanne C. van Bronswijk (a1), Robert J. DeRubeis (a2), Lotte H. J. M. Lemmens (a1), Frenk P. M. L. Peeters (a1), John R. Keefe (a3), Zachary D. Cohen (a4) and Marcus J. H. Huibers (a2) (a5)...



Psychotherapies for depression are equally effective on average, but individual responses vary widely. Outcomes can be improved by optimizing treatment selection using multivariate prediction models. A promising approach is the Personalized Advantage Index (PAI) that predicts the optimal treatment for a given individual and the magnitude of the advantage. The current study aimed to extend the PAI to long-term depression outcomes after acute-phase psychotherapy.


Data come from a randomized trial comparing cognitive therapy (CT, n = 76) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT, n = 75) for major depressive disorder (MDD). Primary outcome was depression severity, as assessed by the BDI-II, during 17-month follow-up. First, predictors and moderators were selected from 38 pre-treatment variables using a two-step machine learning approach. Second, predictors and moderators were combined into a final model, from which PAI predictions were computed with cross-validation. Long-term PAI predictions were then compared to actual follow-up outcomes and post-treatment PAI predictions.


One predictor (parental alcohol abuse) and two moderators (recent life events; childhood maltreatment) were identified. Individuals assigned to their PAI-indicated treatment had lower follow-up depression severity compared to those assigned to their PAI-non-indicated treatment. This difference was significant in two subsets of the overall sample: those whose PAI score was in the upper 60%, and those whose PAI indicated CT, irrespective of magnitude. Long-term predictions did not overlap substantially with predictions for acute benefit.


If replicated, long-term PAI predictions could enhance precision medicine by selecting the optimal treatment for a given depressed individual over the long term.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Suzanne C. van Bronswijk, E-mail:


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Precision medicine for long-term depression outcomes using the Personalized Advantage Index approach: cognitive therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy?

  • Suzanne C. van Bronswijk (a1), Robert J. DeRubeis (a2), Lotte H. J. M. Lemmens (a1), Frenk P. M. L. Peeters (a1), John R. Keefe (a3), Zachary D. Cohen (a4) and Marcus J. H. Huibers (a2) (a5)...


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