Youth with Depressed Parents at Risk for Depression Benefit From CBT Program

Courtesy of Ken Pope, PhD, the journal JAMA Psychiatry published in the November, 2015, issue “Effect of a Cognitive-Behavioral Prevention Program on Depression Six Years after Implementation among at-Risk Adolescents: a Randomized Clinical Trial.” This interesting study followed adolescents whose parents have a history of depression due to concern about the risk that the adolescent will develop depression and functional impairments.  The study used a “cognitive-behavioral prevention” (CBP) program, with a total of 316 participants followed for six years. The results found that the youths assigned to the CBP program at a lower incidence of depression. The conclusions include:

The effects of CBP on nuances of depression was strongest early and is maintained throughout the following.; developmental competence is positively affected six years later. Effectiveness of CBP may be enhanced by additional booster sessions and con commitment treatment of parental depression.

There are two findings that are notable for mental health professionals. First, this clearly is a psychological intervention which is proven to be effective for youth at risk for depression. Second, it is likely that providing comprehensive treatment for both the youth and the depressed parent would be the most effective treatment plan, of course assuming that the parent is willing to participate.

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