The Wellesley Centers for Women partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago on Path 2 Purpose, a $7 million, multi-year project to evaluate and compare depression prevention programs for teens. Over $1.6 million of the award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute went to the Wellesley Centers for Women. The study tests the online intervention CATCH-IT and a group therapy intervention, POD, to see which can prevent depression in teens by helping them feel more hopeful and able to cope with tough situations. In CATCH-IT, an acronym for Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive Behavioral Humanistic and Interpersonal Training, teens participate in a self-directed online learning program. In the Prevention of Depression program -- POD -- teens attend eight weekly and six monthly group therapy sessions led by a clinician. The study also looks at how these programs work in different communities for vulnerable teens, including teens of various races and ethnicities as well as LGBTQ teens and other underrepresented groups.
Benjamin Van Voorhees, M.D., M.P.H., head of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Physician-in-Chief of Children’s Hospital at the University of Illinois, is the study’s principal investigator. The research builds on previous studies by Dr. Van Voorhees and Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., co-principal investigator, that investigated the efficacy and effectiveness of the two approaches with support from the National Institute of Mental Health.
The study will include a diverse group of more than 500 adolescents ages 13 to 19 from urban, suburban, and rural areas throughout Illinois and Kentucky. Under the direction of Drs. Van Voorhees and Gladstone, a team of clinicians and researchers will recruit and enroll teens into the study, who will then be randomized and assigned to either the CATCH-IT or POD program. Researchers will stay in touch with the teens for 18 months while they complete the programs, measuring if and when a depressive episode develops.