Common Factors and Depressive Symptom Relief Trajectories in Group Teletherapy for Persons Ageing with HIV

Timothy G. Heckman, Bernadette Davantes Heckman, Timothy Anderson, Joseph A. Bianco, Mark Sutton, Travis I. Lovejoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Telepsychology research has focused primarily on treatment efficacy, with far less attention devoted to how common factors relate to teletherapy outcomes. This research identified trajectories of depressive symptom relief in 105 older people living with HIV with elevated depressive symptoms enrolled in a randomized clinical trial testing two 12-session group teletherapies and compared common factors (e.g., therapeutic alliance and group cohesion) across depressive symptom trajectory groups. Growth mixture modelling of weekly depression scores identified three depressive symptom change groups: (1) ‘early improvers’ (31%) who reported reductions in depressive symptoms by Session 4; (2) ‘delayed improvers’ (16%) whose symptoms improved after Session 5 and (3) ‘non-improvers’ (53%). Therapeutic alliance was unrelated to treatment outcome group. Group cohesion was greater in early improvers than non-improvers. Group cohesion was unexpectedly lower, and group member similarity was greater in delayed improvers than non-improvers. Early improvers had been living with HIV/AIDS for fewer years than non-improvers. In group teletherapy, group cohesion and group member similarity are more important than client–therapist alliance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Ageing
  • Cohesion
  • Depression
  • Group
  • HIV
  • Therapeutic Alliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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