Regular Research Article|Articles in Press

Maintenance Psychotherapies for Older Adults: A Scoping Review

Published:February 12, 2023DOI:


      • What is the primary question addressed by this study? What is the state of the science on maintenance psychotherapies for depression, anxiety or both for black, Asian, and Latinx adults 60 years of age and older?
      • What is the main finding of this study? We found that maintenance psychotherapies in the treatment of depression, anxiety, or both have been under researched; and blacks, Asians, and Latinx older adults vastly underrepresented in studies. Nonetheless, the small body of knowledge signals that maintenance psychotherapies may have a role in maintaining recovery from depression.
      • What is the meaning of the finding? Despite depression and anxiety commonly and chronically affecting many older adults, maintenance psychotherapies remain under researched, greatly limiting our understanding of how to maintain the healthy functioning of older adults following recovery from these disorders.



      Given the chronicity of depression and anxiety disorders in late life, maintenance treatments may have a role in preserving healthy functioning. This study aims to understand the state of the science on maintenance psychotherapies for Black, Asian, and Latinx older adults.


      Scoping review.


      A priori protocol was prospectively published. Four databases were searched up to December 1, 2021. Eligible studies were conducted in the United States or Puerto Rico and focused on maintenance psychotherapies treating depression, anxiety, or both in adults 60+. Due to the underrepresentation of Black, Asian, and Latinx participants, studies were included irrespective of the participant's racial or ethnic background.


      A total of 3,623 unique studies were retrieved, and eight studies were included. Two studies represented randomized clinical trials, and six were studies of post hoc analyses. All studies were from the same research team, had similar maintenance treatments, and focused on depression. Studies included racially homogenous samples (94-98% White). The primary outcome was the recurrence of a major depressive episode. Across studies, maintenance psychotherapy shows promise in preventing the recurrence of depression in some older adults.


      Expanding the scope of knowledge from achieving optimal functioning to sustaining those changes in older adults is a significant public health challenge given symptom recurrence. The small body of knowledge on maintenance psychotherapies shows a promising direction in maintaining healthy functioning following recovery from depression. However, opportunities remain to expand the evidence of maintenance psychotherapies with a more significant commitment to the inclusion of diverse populations.

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