Comparative effects of the antidepressant drug, amitriptyline hydrochloride, marital therapy, and the drug-psychotherapy interaction effects were studied in a 12-week course of treatment of outpatient depressives. Patients were assigned randomly to four treatment groups, in a 2 x 2 factorial design: (1) drug-marital therapy; (2) drugminimal contact; (3) placebo-marital therapy; and (4) placebo-minimal contact.
Both drug and marital therapy showed substantial beneficial advantages over their control conditions, but drug therapy was faster and generally superior in symptom relief and clinical improvement. Marital therapy was superior in family role task performance and perception of the marital relationship. For reducing hostility and enhancing the perception of the marital relationship, drug therapy had a better early effect, but marital therapy had superior effects by the end of treatment.