Barcelona snapshots

Prof. Pim Cuijpers

Pim Cuijpers psychiatrist Controversies Psiquiatry Barcelona
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Talk Primary prevention and early interventions for depressive and anxiety disorders
Date Friday, September 17th, 2021
Time 9:15 - 10:00
Round Table 3. Affective disorders


Pim Cuijpers is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Dissemination of Psychological Interventions in Amsterdam. He is specialised in conducting randomised controlled trials and meta-analyses on prevention and psychological treatments of common mental disorders across the life span. Much of his work is aimed at prevention of mental disorders, psychological treatments of depression and anxiety disorders, and Internet-delivered treatments. Pim Cuijpers has published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed papers, chapters, reports and professional publications, including almost 800 papers in international peer-reviewed scientific journals. He is on the Thomson-Reuter Web of Science lists of the 'highly cited researchers' since the first edition of this list in 2014.


The public health significance of common mental disorders is high. Depressive and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent, and are associated with considerable loss of quality of life and huge economic costs. Treatments can only reduce the burden of disease of depressive disorders with about one third. A growing number of studies has examined the possibilities to prevent the onset of depressive disorders. In this presentation, the results of this research field will be described, its weaknesses and strengths, and the challenges for the future. First, a definition will be given of what prevention is, and why it is important. I will also describe new techniques to identify the optimal target populations for prevention. Then I will give an overview of the research examining the possibilities to prevent the onset of depressive disorders. Results of a recently updates meta-analysis of this field suggest that it may be possible to prevent or at least delay the onset in some cases. One major problem, however, is the low uptake of preventive services. I will describe the possibilities to improve the uptake of preventive services through an 'indirect approach', in which interventions are aimed at psychological problems that are related to depression, but which do not suffer from stigma or other thresholds to participate.


1. Cuijpers P, Pineda BS, Quero S, Karyotaki E, Struijs SY, Figueroa CA, Llamas JA, Furukawa TA, Muñoz RF (2020). Psychological interventions to prevent the onset of depressive disorders: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clinical Psychology Review, epb ahead of print. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2020.101955

2. Cuijpers P (2021). Indirect prevention and treatment of depression: An emerging paradigm? Clinical Psychology in Europe, in press.

3. Buntrock C, Ebert DD, Lehr D, Smit F, Riper H, Berking M, Cuijpers P (2016). Effect of a web-based guided self-help intervention for prevention of major depression in adults with sub-threshold depression: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 315, 1854-1863.

4. Dias A, Azariah F, Anderson SJ, Sequeira M, Cohen A, Morse J, Cuijpers P, Patel V, Reynolds CF (2019). Preventing major depression in older adults living in low- and middle-income countries: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA Psychiatry, 76, 13-20.