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Behav Res Ther. 2018 Jan;100:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.brat.2017.10.013. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Major depression prevention effects for a cognitive-behavioral adolescent indicated prevention group intervention across four trials.

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Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, USA. Electronic address:
Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.
Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, USA.


Major depressive disorder (MDD) in young people is a leading cause of disability but most depressed youth are not treated, emphasizing the need for effective prevention. Our goal is to synthesize MDD onset prevention effects for the Blues Program, a brief cognitive-behavioral (CB) indicated prevention group, by merging data from four trials (three of which included CB bibliotherapy) and conducting an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis. Data were available from 766 high school/college students (M age = 16.4, SD = 2.3; 60% female, 64% White). CB group resulted in significantly lower MDD incidence rates relative to brochure control that persisted to 6-month follow-up; CB group also was associated with a lower 2-year MDD incidence rate relative to bibliotherapy but heterogeneity across trials was detected. Contrasts between bibliotherapy and brochure control were nonsignificant. For significant contrasts, the number needed to treat (NNT) by CB group to prevent one MDD onset relative to brochure or bibliotherapy ranged from 10 to 21. A brief CB group depression prevention intervention for at-risk adolescent is achieving meaningful effects compared to both active and minimal controls but outcomes need to be improved, perhaps by better screening or augmentations to produce more persistent intervention effects.


Adolescents; Bibliotherapy; Cognitive-behavioral; Group intervention; Major depression; Prevention

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