Psychophysiological responses to group cognitive-behavioral therapy in depressive patients

Yves Martins Varela, Raíssa Nóbrega de Almeida, Ana Cecília de Menezes Galvão, Geovan Menezes de Sousa Jr, Ana Cecília Lopes de Lima, Neuciane Gomes da Silva, Mario André Leocadio-Miguel, Bruno Lobão-Soares, Jaime Eduardo Cecílio Hallak, João Paulo Maia-de-Oliveira, Nicole Leite Galvão-Coelho*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has a significant adjunctive effect in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), however its use as monotherapy in group-based approaches is less explored. We assessed the responses of distinct psychophysiological domains after a group-based CBT (gCBT, 16 weeks) intervention in drug-free patients with mild-moderate MDD (n = 20; women = 11) and compared them with a healthy control group (n = 25, women = 13). The treatment resulted in 65% of response and 55% of remission rates. Significant reductions in depressive and anxiety symptoms and increase in self-esteem and sleep quality were observed as gCBT responses. Moreover, after treatment, patients regulated their previously deregulated salivary cortisol awakening response and sleep quality toward healthy parameters. These improvements were correlated among themselves and dependent of remission outcome. Remitted patients showed larger improvements than non-remitted for all psychophysiological domains, except for serum cortisol that significantly changed only for no-remitted patients after gCBT but did not reached controls levels. Further, better baseline sleep quality was predictor of remission. The psychophysiological changes found support the use of gCBT as monotherapy treatment for mild-moderate MDD, corroborate the importance of the observation of the patients in theirs whole sociopsychophysiological condition since they are related to remission outcome and then stimulate further studies of validation of clinical protocols that work on all of these psychophysiological domains studied. Trial Registration U1111–1215-4472. Registered 21 August 2018,

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-601
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date10 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes

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