Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. C. Richard Spates

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Naugle

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Gaynor

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Evelyn Winfield-Thomas


Patient preferences, depression treatment, evidence based treatment, psychotherapy, computer treatment, primary care


Research indicates most depressed patients in the general U.S. adult population seek depression treatment in primary care settings where the prevailing method of treatment is antidepressant medication. Although primary care physicians regard this approach as a preferable first line method of depression treatment, studies indicate many patients do not. Several studies have found depressed patients in these settings prefer psychotherapy or counseling over anti-depressant medication. Many advocate patient preferences should be integral to the treatment decision making process. There is a demonstrated propensity towards psychotherapy or counseling over antidepressant medication among depression patients. However, it is unclear which psychological depression treatments patients prefer.

Several evidence-based depression treatments are available; however, studies indicate patients may have only have a limited understanding, or no knowledge of them. Educating patients with information to help them make sense of their depression and the various evidence-based treatment options available, may facilitate informed decisions regarding the most appropriate care.

The present exploratory study examines depression treatment preferences among college students at a Midwestern university. The high prevalence of depression among college students warrants particular attention and the need to better connect this vulnerable and at-risk population to appropriate, evidence-based, and patient-focused treatment. When provided information on several evidence-based depression treatments (traditional face-to-face treatments: behavioral activation therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, supportive therapy; and computer-based treatments: computerized behavioral activation therapy - Building a Meaningful Life through Behavioral Activation and computerized cognitive behavior therapy - Beating the Blues ™) the following is evaluated: 1) preferences among face-to-face interventions, 2) preferences among computer-based interventions, 3) whether face-to-face interventions are preferred over computer-based interventions, and 4) attributes and characteristics associated with treatment choice.

Utilization of a web-based survey, embedded with videos on the experience of depression and the six aforementioned evidence-based depression treatments is described. Findings from this research demonstrate the impact psychoeducation has on treatment preference. It additionally provides insight on the specific treatments, and elements of those treatments, found most and least appealing.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access