For Immediate Release: April 20, 2011
WELLESLEY, MA--The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College, with the University of Chicago (UC), has received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health for a multi-site study to evaluate a primary care/Internet-based depression prevention program for at-risk adolescents and their families. This projected $3.3 million, five-year study will be led by Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., senior research scientist and director of the Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at WCW, and Benjamin Van Voorhees, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Department of Medicine at UC, with a total $1.3M anticipated for WCW’s portion of the research.
The project, Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive Behavioral Humanistic and Interpersonal Training (CATCH-IT), is based on face-to-face interventions that demonstrate efficacy. It combines a sustained motivational program delivered to adolescents by their pediatricians with an Internet-based intervention that aims to help teens understand the connection between their thoughts and moods, the importance of scheduling activities, and the relation between depression and interpersonal functioning. An additional parent program educates parents about youth depression, treatment options, and ways to promote resilience in their teens. Pilot work with this intervention suggests that it is associated with significant reductions in depressed mood, increased social support, and reduced depressive episodes at three- and 12-month follow-up in a diverse population.
In the current five-year, two-site (Boston and Chicago) randomized clinical trial, the efficacy of the CATCH-IT intervention will be compared to an Active Monitoring and Psycho-education (AMPE) control condition in preventing the onset of depressive episodes in an intermediate- to high-risk, geographically representative sample of adolescents aged 13-17. The research team plans to: (a) identify high-risk adolescents based on elevated scores on a screening measure of depressive symptoms that is delivered in primary care; (b) recruit 400 (200 per site) of these at-risk adolescents to be randomized into either the CATCH-IT or the AMPE group; and (c) assess outcomes at two, six, 12, 18 and 24 months post-intake on measures of depressive symptoms, depressive diagnoses, other mental disorders, and on measures of role impairment in education, quality of life, attainment of educational milestones, and family functioning. The team will also examine predictors of intervention response, and potential ethnic and cultural differences in intervention response.
Gladstone is the inaugural director of the Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at WCW which focuses on research and evaluation designed to prevent the onset of mental health concerns in children and adolescents. She is an assistant in psychology at Children’s Hospital, Boston, an instructor at Harvard Medical School, and a research scientist at Judge Baker Children’s Center. Van Voorhees is assistant professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry in the UC Department of Medicine. His research goals focus on the development and evaluation of primary care and community-based depression prevention interventions for adolescents.
The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is one of the largest gender-focused research-and-action organizations in the world. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory, and implement training programs on issues important to women, children, and families. This work addresses three major areas: the social and economic status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional wellbeing of families and individuals.