WVU Professor Awarded $13 Million to Study Treatment For Rural Depression Patients

Sep 7, 2018

A West Virginia University researcher has been awarded a $13.3 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to compare three treatment strategies for rural depressed patients.

Rates of depression tend to be higher in rural areas, and accessing treatment is more difficult.

WVU professor Robert Bossarte will compare three treatment options: prescribing antidepressants alone, antidepressants combined with unguided online cognitive behavior therapy, and antidepressants combined with guided online cognitive behavior therapy. 

Cognitive behavior therapy is a way of training your brain to react differently to stressful triggers, using tools like breathing and muscle relaxation.

Unguided therapy provides online instruction designed to determine what makes patient symptoms worse, and to change how they respond to those triggers.

During guided therapy patients will check-in with a cognitive behavior coach.

The study will include 8,000 West Virginia depression patients.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health, Charleston Area Medical Center and WVU Medicine.