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Stepwise Psychotherapy Intervention for Reducing Risks in Coronary Artery Disease - a randomised controlled trial (SPIRR-CAD)


Prof. Dr. med. Christoph Herrmann-Lingen, PD Dr. med. Christian Albus


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)


Institut für Epidemiologie, Sozialmedizin und Gesundheitssystemforschung, MHH


  • Prof. Dr. med. Manfred E. Beutel, Dipl.-Psych., Mainz
  • Dr. med. Ullrich Buss, Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Christian Deter, Berlin
  • PD Dr. med. Kurt Fritzsche, Freiburg
  • PD Dr. Martin Hellmich, Köln
  • PD Dr. Jochen Jordan, Frankfurt
  • Dr. med. Jana Jünger, Heidelberg
  • PD Dr. rer. pol. Christian Krauth, Hannover
  • Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Ladwig, München
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Lehmacher, Köln
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Mück-Weymann, Dresden
  • Dr. rer. nat. Ursula Paulus, Köln
  • Prof. Dr. med. Burkert Pieske, Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. med. Gerhard Schmid-Ott, Hannover/Löhne


gesundheitsökonomische Evaluation



In patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), depressive symptoms are frequent and highly relevant for quality of life, health behaviour, health care costs, and prognosis. The aim of the current study is to evaluate the effects of a psychotherapy intervention on symptoms of depression in patients with CAD. Therefore, depressed patients hospitalised for CAD will be randomised into a controlled intervention trial, comparing a stepwise psychotherapy intervention with usual cardiological care. The manualised psychotherapy intervention starts with three individual sessions offered on a weekly basis. Afterwards, symptoms of depression will be re-evaluated and, in case of persisting symptoms, patients receive an additional 25 sessions of psychodynamic group psycho¬therapy over a total period of one year. The psychodynamic approach was chosen in order to specifically take into account personality traits such as negative affectivity and social inhibition, the components of the Type D personality, which may explain why recent cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) trials produced only small effects in depressed CAD patients. We expect that the intervention will reduce depressive symptoms as well as the prevalence of depressive disorders. It will also improve both behaviourally and physiologically mediated cardiovascular risk indicators, promote better quality of life, and reduce healthcare costs. Subgroup analyses will be performed in order to identify gender-specific treat¬ment effects, effects on immunological stress reactivity, and genetic predictors of treatment success.