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Brief Group Intervention Using Emotional Freedom Techniques for Depression in College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Depression Research and Treatment
Hindawi Publishing Corporation
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1155/2012/257172
  • Clinical Study


Two hundred thirty-eight first-year college students were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Thirty students meeting the BDI criteria for moderate to severe depression were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The treatment group received four 90-minute group sessions of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a novel treatment that combines exposure, cognitive reprocessing, and somatic stimulation. The control group received no treatment. Posttests were conducted 3 weeks later on those that completed all requirements (N = 18). The EFT group (n = 9) had significantly more depression at baseline than the control group (n = 9) (EFT BDI mean = 23.44, SD = 2.1 versus control BDI mean = 20.33, SD = 2.1). After controlling for baseline BDI score, the EFT group had significantly less depression than the control group at posttest, with a mean score in the “nondepressed” range (P = .001; EFT BDI mean = 6.08, SE = 1.8 versus control BDI mean = 18.04, SE = 1.8). Cohen's d was 2.28, indicating a very strong effect size. These results are consistent with those noted in other studies of EFT that included an assessment for depression and indicate the clinical usefulness of EFT as a brief, cost-effective, and efficacious treatment.

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