THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A good relationship between a patient and therapist is likely to improve the patient's recovery from depression, a new study finds.

But the outcome of the patient-therapist alliance is often affected by the patient's marriage and occupational status, unusual variations of major depression and coexisting personality disorders (if any), the researchers found.

Researchers from the University of Ghent in Belgium looked at the outcomes of 567 people with major depression who received six months of combined treatment with therapy and antidepressants.

Having a high score on ratings of the patient-therapist relationship four weeks after the start of treatment predicted subsequent progress in the patient's condition.

Next to the patient-therapist alliance, other factors that affected the rate of patient improvement included the initial severity of depression, a history of psychiatric disorders, job status and early improvement of depressive symptoms.

The study was published in the last 2010 issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about depression.