The Effectiveness of Telepsychiatry-Based Culturally Sensitive Collaborative Treatment for Depressed Chinese American Immigrants: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Objective: This study evaluates the effectiveness of a telepsychiatry-based culturally sensitive collaborative treatment (T-CSCT) intervention to improve treatment outcomes for depressed Chinese American immigrants.

Methods: Participants were Chinese Americans recruited from primary care settings from February 1, 2009, to July 31, 2012, with DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) identified by the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview. Eligible patients were randomized to receive either T-CSCT or treatment as usual (TAU) for 6 months. T-CSCT involves (1) cultural consultation via videoconference and (2) care management. The primary outcome measure was the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS17); positive response was defined as a 50% decrease in HDRS17 score, and remission was defined as HDRS17 score 7. Secondary outcome measures were the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness (CGI-S) and Improvement (CGI-I) scales and the Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire (Q-LES-Q). Outcomes were compared using multivariate logistic regression and mixed-model for repeated measures methods.

Results: Among participants (N = 190), 63% were female, and the mean (SD) age was 50 (14.5) years. They were randomized to T-CSCT (n = 97; 51%) or TAU (n = 93; 49%). Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, the odds of achieving response and remission were significantly greater for the T-CSCT group compared to the control group (odds ratio [OR] = 3.9 [95% CI, 1.9 to 7.8] and 4.4 [95% CI, 1.9 to 9.9], respectively). Multivariate general linear model analyses showed that patients in the T-CSCT group had significantly greater improvement over time in HDRS17 (F4,95 = 4.59, P = .002), CGI-S (F4,95 = 4.22, P = .003), and CGI-I (F4,95 = 2.95, P = .02) scores.

Conclusions: T-CSCT is effective in improving treatment outcomes of Chinese immigrants with MDD.

Trial Registration: Clini​ identifier: NCT00854542

J Clin Psychiatry 2016;77(8):e996–e1002