Phone Counseling Program Helps Boston Heart Patients Become Less Depressed, More Functional

Researchers at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Boston tested a short-term telephone counseling program for effectiveness in improving coping skills and reducing depression and anxiety among patients who had recently experienced acute coronary syndrome.

Key Findings

  • Patients who received the intervention had a 27 percent improvement in depression symptoms, a 27 percent improvement in anxiety and a 38 percent improvement in their ability to carry out home management activities. Patients who did not receive the intervention did not show a comparable improvement.

  • Patients who received telephone counseling showed no greater improvement in workplace functioning than patients who received care as usual. Both groups showed an overall improvement over time.