This study was conducted to examine the 12-month effects on depression and depressive symptoms of a group-based cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention for middle school students (Positive Thoughts and Actions, or PTA), relative to a brief, individually administered supportive intervention (Individual Support Program, or ISP). A randomized clinical trial was conducted with 120 early adolescents (73 girls and 47 boys; age 12–14 years) drawn from a school-based population who had elevated depressive symptoms. Youths completed measures of depressive symptoms at baseline, post-intervention, and 6 and 12 months into the follow-up phase. Measures of internalizing problems, externalizing problems, school adjustment, interpersonal relationships, and health behavior were obtained from parents and/or youth. Multilevel models indicated that the effect of PTA on youth-reported depressive symptoms persisted until 12-month follow-up; d = 0.36 at post-intervention, d = 0.24 at 6-month follow-up, and d = 0.21 at 12-month follow-up. PTA youths also reported lower internalizing symptoms at post-intervention, d = 0.44, and at 12-month follow-up, d = 0.39. Time-limited effects were found for parent-reported internalizing symptoms and health behavior. Onset of new depressive episodes did not differ based on intervention group (21 % ISP; 17 % PTA). Results demonstrate support for the long-term efficacy of PTA, a cognitive-behavioral preventive intervention in which youths engage in personal goal-setting and practice social-emotional skills.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health