Comparing the Effectiveness of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on Emotion Regulation in Individuals with Major Depression

Document Type : Original Article


1 Doctoral student in clinical psychology, Roudhen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudhen, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Ph.D. in Military Psychiatry, Assistant Professor, Clinical Education Department, Faculty of Aerospace and Subaquatic Medicine, Aja University of Medical Sciences


Introduction: Effective emotional regulation is crucial for individuals with major depression. This study compares the impact of two intervention methods—repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and cognitive-behavioral therapy—on emotional regulation in this population.

Methods: Conducted as a quasi-experimental, goal-oriented study, we employed a pre-test post-test design with a one-month follow-up for the control group. The sample comprised 39 men and women with major depression purposefully selected from Delaram Sina Psychiatric Hospital in Tehran in 2022. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups: rTMS (13 participants), cognitive-behavioral therapy (13 participants), and a control group (13 participants). The experimental groups received 12 sessions each of their respective interventions, while the control group received no intervention. Demographic characteristics were recorded, and the research tool used was Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ). Data were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance in SPSS version 26.

Results: Both rTMS and cognitive-behavioral therapy demonstrated effectiveness in emotional regulation, including suppression and reappraisal components, among individuals with depression. Importantly, cognitive-behavioral therapy exhibited greater efficacy in emotional regulation and its suppression and reappraisal components compared to rTMS. Specific p-values or effect sizes are available upon request.

Conclusion: In comparing the two intervention methods, cognitive-behavioral therapy emerged as more effective than rTMS in enhancing emotional regulation in individuals with depression. These findings underscore the significance of considering diverse approaches in the treatment of major depression and may have practical implications for clinical practice.