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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2002 Oct;41(10):1190-6.

Attachment-based family therapy for depressed adolescents: a treatment development study.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.



To design a treatment manual and adherence measure for attachment-based family therapy (ABFT) for adolescent depression and to collect pilot data on the treatment's efficacy.


Over a period of 2 years, 32 adolescents meeting criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of ABFT or a 6-week, minimal-contact, waitlist control group. The sample was 78% female and 69% African American; 69% were from low-income, inner-city communities.


At post-treatment, 81% of the patients treated with ABFT no longer met criteria for MDD, in contrast with 47% of patients in the waitlist group. Mixed factorial analyses of variance revealed that, compared with the waitlist group, patients treated with ABFT showed a significantly greater reduction in both depressive and anxiety symptoms and family conflict. Of the 15 treated cases assessed at the follow-up, 13 patients (87%) continued to not meet criteria for MDD 6 months after treatment ended.


ABFT appears to be a promising treatment and worthy of further development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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