Cultural competency and its effect on treatment outcome of IPT-A in school-based health clinics

Laura Mufson, Paula Yanes-Lukin, Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel, Priya Wickramaratne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: This paper assesses acculturation and ethnic matching of therapist and patient as predictors and moderators of treatment outcome in a 12-week effectiveness study of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for depressed adolescents (IPT-A) versus treatment as usual (TAU). The treatment was delivered in school-based health clinics in which care was provided for a predominantly Latino patient population. Methods: Birthplace, length of residence in the United States (U.S.), and therapist-patient ethnic matching were examined as predictors and moderators of treatment outcomes for depression, social functioning, and global functioning scores. Results: Birthplace significantly moderated treatment condition in predicting week 12 depression severity and improvement, and marginally significantly moderated treatment in predicting week 12 depression symptoms, with U.S.-born adolescents who received IPT-A having better outcomes. Birthplace predicted week 12 self-reports of depression, social (overall, school, and family) and global functioning, with U.S.-born adolescents faring worse across treatment conditions. Foreign-born adolescents treated with IPT-A as compared to TAU who lived for a longer period of time in the U.S. demonstrated better overall social functioning as compared to foreign-born adolescents who had lived for a shorter period of time in the U.S. Ethnic matching predicted significant reduction in depression severity and improved overall social functioning, and marginally significant improvement in week 12 depression scores, regardless of treatment condition. Conclusions: IPT-A may be a culturally responsive treatment for depressed Latino youth who are struggling with acculturation issues that affect their significant relationships. Ethnic matching appears beneficial for the general population in reducing depression and improving social functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-442
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychotherapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014


  • Adolescents
  • Culture
  • Depression
  • Psychotherapy


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