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Am J Psychother. 2020 Mar 1;73(1):22-28. doi: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.20190028. Epub 2020 Feb 13.

Family-Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy: An Intervention for Preadolescent Depression.

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Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh.


Family-based interpersonal psychotherapy (FB-IPT) is an evidence-based psychosocial intervention for depression in preadolescents (ages 8-12 years). Adapted from interpersonal psychotherapy for adolescents with depression and modified for younger children, this therapy includes structured dyadic sessions with preadolescents and their parents, guidance for parents in supporting their children and decreasing negative parent-child interactions, and a focus on preadolescents' comorbid anxiety and peer relationships. This article reviews the conceptual foundations and risk factors related to preadolescent depression and the rationale for focusing on improving preadolescents' interpersonal relationships to decrease depressive symptoms and risk for depression during adolescence. The structure and goals for the initial, middle, and termination phases of FB-IPT are described, as well as the specific communication and problem-solving strategies presented to preadolescents and parents. Last, research on the efficacy of FB-IPT is summarized, as are future directions for implementing this promising psychosocial intervention for preadolescent depression in community settings.


IPT; Psychotherapy; depression; family-based; interpersonal psychotherapy; preadolescents

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