Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst

Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst
Offener Zugang

ISSN: 2167-1044


Local Perceptions of the Impact of Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy in Rural Uganda

Eric Lewandowski R, Lena Verdeli, Annie Feighery, Judy Bass, Cephas Hamba, Emily Haroz, Vivi Stavrou, Lincoln Ndogoni and Paul A. Bolton

This study investigated local perceptions of changes stemming from a long-standing Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT-G) program for the treatment of depression in rural Uganda. The study was conducted in a lowincome, severely HIV/AIDS affected area where in 2001 the prevalence of depression was estimated at 21% among adults. Data were collected between May 10 and May 31, 2010, using free-listing and key informant qualitative interviewing techniques. A convenience sample of sixty free-list respondents was selected from among adults who had participated in IPT-G, their family members, and other community members, from 10 villages representing a range of sizes and geographical locations. Twenty-two key informants were also selected from these villages, based on their knowledge about changes reported by free-list respondents. Interviews were analyzed using content analysis and response frequency tallied. IPT-G facilitators were also interviewed about the reported changes. Free-list respondents identified 5 primary categories of change in the community related to the IPT-G program: 1) Improved school attendance for children; 2) Improved productivity; 3) Improved sanitation in communities; 4) Greater cohesion among community members; and 5) Reduced conflict in families. Key informant interviews with community members and IPT-G facilitators suggested that as depression remitted, IPT-G participants became more hopeful and motivated and resumed productive pursuits. Greater cohesion between group members and other affected community members led to increases in collaborative farming and building efforts, and to ongoing mutual emotional support and peer counseling. Changes reported in this study cannot uniquely be attributed to the IPT-G program as other development programs in the area, related to farming, sanitation, and education, may also have contributed. Nevertheless, results suggest that providing treatment for depression in communities where it is prevalent may lead to positive changes in a range of non-mental health areas that are perceived to be connected the depression services.