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These are actually two closely-related group therapy interventions, evaluated in separate studies, for youth who are at elevated risk of serious depression (e.g., exhibit moderate but not severe depressive symptoms). Cognitive behavioral therapy, as delivered in these interventions, teaches them how to manage their thoughts and feelings so as to prevent depression.
Randomized controlled trial of 94 13-18 year olds at elevated risk of clinical depression because they had (1) moderate depressive symptoms, below the level of a major depressive disorder, and (2) at least one parent being treated for depression by an HMO. The youths were randomly assigned to a group that received a group cognitive behavioral therapy program – Coping With Stress – or a control group that was permitted to initiate or continue the HMO’s usual care. The cognitive behavioral therapy group could also access any other care provided by the HMO.
Results for the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy group 26 months after completion of the intervention (versus the control group):
- 36% less likely to be diagnosed as having experienced a major depressive episode during the past 26 months (21% of the cognitive behavioral therapy group had an episode vs. 33% of the control group).
- A significant reduction in the number and frequency of depressive symptoms the youth were experiencing at the end-of-intervention and one-year follow-ups, but this effect disappeared at the 26-month follow-up.
- No significant effect on the incidence of nonaffective disorders (e.g. substance abuse or eating disorders).