Mixed Methods Analysis of Implementation of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) for Major Depressive Disorder in Prisons in a Hybrid Type I Randomized Trial

  • Jennifer E. JohnsonEmail author
  • Maji Hailemariam
  • Caron Zlotnick
  • Fallon Richie
  • Joshua Sinclair
  • Adam Chuong
  • Shannon Wiltsey Stirman
Original Article


This article describes a mixed methods evaluation of implementation of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) in the first fully-powered trial of any treatment for major depressive disorder in an incarcerated population. Assessments in this Hybrid Type I trial included surveys of prison providers and administrators (n = 71), measures of feasibility and acceptability to prison patients (n = 90), and a planned document review (n = 460) to assess potential determinants of implementation. Quantitative and qualitative results indicated that IPT was a good fit for prisoners, and that prisoners and providers were enthusiastic about IPT. Providers were open to feedback, open to learning evidence-based practices, and committed to helping their clients. Limited treatment staff and variable supervision and collegial support may pose implementation challenges. For widespread prison implementation, scalable models for ongoing IPT training and supervision are needed.


Implementation science Prisons Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) Major depressive disorder Group psychotherapy 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 MH095230; Johnson, Principal Investigator). We would also like to acknowledge Marlanea Peabody, Collette Williams, Jen Kao, and Karen Fernandes, who helped to collect the data, and Dr. Jessica Nargiso who provided study supervision and kept process notes.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to report.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of Brown University’s Institutional Review Board (FWA 00004460), the regulatory bodies overseeing prison research in participating states, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Public Health, College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityFlintUSA
  2. 2.Butler Hospital and Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  5. 5.Dissemination and Training Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, National Center for PTSDStanford UniversityMenlo ParkUSA
  6. 6.Division of Public Health, College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityFlintUSA

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