Thirty-seven families with a child between the ages of 8 and 15 and at least one parent who had experienced a recent episode of affective disorder were assigned randomly to one of two psychoeducational interventions. The interventions (clinician-facilitated or lecture-group discussion) were designed to prevent childhood depression and related problems through decreasing the impact of related risk factors and encouraging resiliency-promoting behaviors and attitudes. They were similar in content but differed in the level of the children's involvement and the degree to which the families' individual life experiences were linked to the educational material. Assessments included standard diagnostic and social functioning instruments and interviews designed specifically for this project to assess behavior and attitude change. Each parent and child was individually assessed by separate assessors who were blind to information about the other family members. Parent participants in both groups reported being satisfied with the intervention. Clinician group participants reported a significantly larger number of overall changes, as well as higher levels of change regarding communications about the illness with their children and increased understanding by the children of their illness. Significantly more children in the clinician group also reported they gained a better understanding of parental affective illness as a result of their participation in the project.
Examination of preventive interventions for families with depression: Evidence of change