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Examining Approach Motivation in Depressed Middle-Aged and Older Adults

Clinical Trial Details

This behavioral study will examine how different self-report and clinical rating scales correlate with motivation processes in middle-aged and older adults with depression. The goal is to identify simple measures for characterizing abnormalities in motivation in depressed patients that can be used in the community. Administration of these measures at the outset and during treatment will allow community clinicians to optimize the selection and timing of behavioral interventions. 

Key Eligibility: 

Inclusion Criteria: 

  • Age: 45-85 years 
  • Diagnosis: Major depression, unipolar without psychotic features by DSM-V criteria. 
  • Severity of depression: Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) greater than or equal to 20 at screening and scan. 
  • No current treatment with an SSRI or SNRI or on a stable dosage of an SSRI or an SNRI (8 weeks prior to study entry). 
  • No plan to change the dosage of the antidepressant prescribed by the participant's own physician. 
  • Capacity to provide informed consent. 

Exclusion Criteria: 

  • High suicide risk, i.e. intent or plan to attempt suicide in near future; 
  • Presence of any current Axis I psychiatric disorder (other than unipolar major depression, persistent depressive disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or specific phobias) including substance abuse (those with a history of substance abuse must be abstinent for at least 3 months prior to entry); 
  • Axis II diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, mental retardation and pervasive developmental disorder (DSM-V); 
  • History of psychotic disorder or bipolar mood disorder; 
  • Cognition: Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores below 24 at screening or diagnosis of dementia by DSM-V; 
  • Acute or severe medical illness, i.e., delirium, metastatic cancer, decompensated cardiac, liver or kidney failure, major surgery, stroke or myocardial infarction during the three months prior to entry; or drugs known to cause depression, e.g., reserpine, alpha-methyl-dopa, steroids, sympathomimetics withdrawal; 
  • Presence of a significant neurological disease such as Parkinson's disease, primary or secondary seizure disorders, intracranial tumors, multiple sclerosis, stroke, severe head trauma; 
  • Inability to perform any of the ADLs (MAI: ADL subscale) even with assistance, e.g. walking with a cane is not an exclusion criterion; 
  • Inability to speak English

Study contact by location

Upper East Side - Manhattan


Krystalle Lyons
(212) 746-3749

Rana Azab

Aliayah Himelfarb

Primary Investigator(s)

Protocol ID(s)

Weill Cornell Medicine IRB #:



Open to Enrollment

Age Group