Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) randomly assigned 42 preadolescents with depression family-based interpersonal psychotherapy (FB-IPT) or to child-centered therapy (CCT). Depressive symptoms in children were measured by the Children’s Depression Rating Scale, Revised, and the Mood Feeling Questionnaire, Child and Parent Versions.
Preadolescents receiving FB-IPT had higher rates of remission (66.0 percent vs. 31 percent), a greater decrease in depressive symptoms from pre- to post-treatment, and lower depressive symptoms at post-treatment than did preadolescents with depression receiving CCT. Children receiving FB-IPT also reported significant reductions in anxiety and interpersonal impairment than did preadolescents in the CCT condition. There was a significant indirect effect for decreased social impairment accounting for the association between the FB-IPT and preadolescents’ post-treatment depressive symptoms.
“These findings provide strong support for FB-IPT as an effective treatment for preadolescent depression with medium to larger effect sizes,” the researchers stated. “There was a significant indirect effect for decreased social impairment mediating the association between the FB-IPT and preadolescents’ post-treatment depressive symptoms. This may suggest that reducing social impairment is one mechanism by which FB-IPT may decrease preadolescents’ depressive symptoms.”
For related news, see the Psychiatric News article "Family Intervention Benefits Children of Depressed Parents."
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