Project Directors: William R. Beardslee, M.D. and Tracy R.G. Gladstone, Ph.D.
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health

This national, multi-site research study aims to test the effectiveness and generalizability of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for preventing depressive disorders in at-risk adolescent offspring of parents with depression. The research team includes investigators here in Boston, in Nashville, in Pittsburgh and in Portland, Oregon.

The study targets at-risk youth 13 through 17 years old, who are not currently expreriencing a mood disorder but who have subsyndromal symptoms of depression and/or a past history of a depressive episode. In addition, a parent has had a diagnosis of depression in the past 3 years or has had recurrent (>3) or chronic (total duration>3 years) depressive episodes during the target teen's life. The primary question is whether receiving the preventive intervention lowers the risk of future depressive symptoms and DSM-IV depressive disorder diagnoses. Seventy-eight at-risk adolescents in Boston (and 80 teens in each of three other sites) have been randomized into either the preventive intervention (CBP) or treatment as usual (TAU) groups, group sessions have been conducted, and follow-up assessments are underway. It is hypothesized that participants in the CBP intervention will have a significantly lower prospective incidence of first and repeated episodes of depressive disorders and symptoms compared to adolescents in the UC group. Presently preliminary analyses are being conducted, and the research team is seeking a continuation of funding to follow these adolescents across the transition to adulthood.

Learn more about this study in this video with Tracy Gladstone