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School based prevention programme may reduce depressive episodes in adolescents at risk

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Does participation in a prevention programme conducted in school reduce episodes of depressive disorders among adolescents?


171 adolescents who were aged 14 or 15 years at the start of the study (52% female). Eligible students were those considered at risk for major depressive disorders (MDD), indicated by scoring between the 75th and 90th percentile on the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) or on or over the 75th percentile of the negative component of the Children's Attributional Style Questionnaire (CASQ). Students with MDD, dysthymia or other psychiatric disorders or serious suicide ideation were excluded.


Ninth grade classes in Icelandic schools; 2001–2005.


Depression prevention programme or treatment as usual (TAU). The programme was delivered using a manual/homework book for the students over 14 or 15 sessions in the school setting but outside regular classes. The programme focused on adaptive and resilience coping strategies to enhance self-esteem and well being in order to prevent an episode of MDD. Handouts, comedy videos, posters and a relaxation tape were also used. Sessions were twice a week for …

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  • Sources of funding The Icelandic Science Fund (RANNIS), the University of Iceland Research Fund, the Landspitali-University Hospital Research Fund, the Arnor Bjornsson Memorial Fund and also, in part, by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant MH066207).


  • Competing interests None

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