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The Healthy Activity Program (HAP), a brief, lay-counselor-delivered, behavioral activation psychological treatment, was found to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms among primary care attendees in India. We now examine whether early response predicts depression (PHQ-9) outcomes at the primary endpoint of 3 months and sustained recovery at 12 months after enrollment and the extent to which this effect is influenced by sudden gains in the context of the larger randomized controlled trial. HAP participants (N = 245) who exhibited an early response (150 of 245 or 61.2%), as defined by a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms from baseline to Session 3, had lower depressive symptom scores than those who did not at 3 months (5.29 vs. 10.75, F = 33.21, p < .001) and at 12 months (6.56 vs. 11.02, F = 21.84, p < .001). Further exploratory analyses suggested that this advantage was largely confined to the subset of early responders who also showed sudden gains (87 of 150).

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Psychol Sci

Publication Date





768 - 777


behavioral activation, depression, early response, low- and middle-income country, nonspecialist provider, psychological treatment, sudden gains