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Fam Process. 2006 Jun;45(2):187-203.

Developing a family-based depression prevention program in urban community mental health clinics: a qualitative investigation.

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  • 1University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine/Department of Psychiatry, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. rboyd@mail.med.upenn.edu


Extensive research documents that children of depressed mothers are at a significantly higher risk for developing a variety of socioemotional difficulties than children of nondepressed mothers. Yet, little prevention research has been conducted for this population, and low-income, minority, and urban families are rarely included. To address this deficit, we are developing the Protecting Families Program (PFP), a family-based multicomponent depression prevention program for mothers in treatment at urban community mental health agencies and their school-aged children. To inform intervention development and begin relationship building with the agencies, patient and staff focus groups were conducted in the participating agencies. Eighteen mothers with depression participated, and eight major themes were identified: (1) depression symptoms, (2) generational legacy, (3) parenting difficulties, (4) child problems, (5) social support, (6) stressful life events, (7) therapy and other helpful activities, and (8) desired treatment. In the focus groups with 10 mental health providers, the five major themes identified were parenting difficulties, lack of social support, life stress, current mental health practices, and intervention development. The findings support the multicomponent design of PFP, which focuses on increasing knowledge of depression, enhancing social support, and improving parenting skills. The study helped clarify many of the challenges of conducting research in a community mental health system.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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