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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2015;44(4):551-8. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2014.881291. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Mental health service use among adolescents following participation in a randomized clinical trial for depression.

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  • 1a Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences , Duke University School of Medicine.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a common disorder among adolescents. The Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS) was a randomized controlled trial to examine the efficacy of fluoxetine and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), separately and together, compared with placebo, in adolescents 12 to 17 years of age. The Survey of Outcomes Following Treatment for Adolescent Depression (SOFTAD) was designed as a naturalistic follow-up of participants in TADS. The aims of the current analyses are to describe mental health service use during the SOFTAD period. There were 196 adolescents recruited from 12 TADS sites. The Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age-Children-Present and Lifetime Version was used for clinical diagnoses. Participants completed a psychiatric treatment log and the Child and Adolescent Services Assessment to assess service use. 58% received psychotherapy or nonstimulant psychotropic medication during SOFTAD. Youth with recurrent MDD had higher rates of treatment compared to youth without recurrent MDD (71% vs. 45%). However, nearly one third of the adolescents in the study did not receive treatment for a recurrent episode of depression. Service use differed by gender for those with recurrent MDD, with female participants (79%) receiving treatment at higher rates than male participants (55%), although there was no significant difference in depression severity between genders. Younger participants with recurrent MDD had higher odds of receiving psychotherapy. Use of psychotherapy and psychotropics following recurrence of depression appears to be influenced by age and gender. Even when youth respond well to treatment, a sizeable percentage are likely to experience a subsequent episode that may go untreated.

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