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Group CBT prevents depression in at-risk adolescents

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What is the effect of a group cognitive behavioural programme in preventing depression in at-risk adolescents?


316 adolescents (aged 13–17 years; mean age 14.8 years; 58.5% female) with current subsyndromal depressive symptoms, identified by a score of >20 on the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale or a prior episode of depression (DSM-IV) from which they were in remission for a minimum of 2 months, or both, plus at least one parent or carer with current or prior depressive episodes (either a major depressive episode within the previous 3 years or three or more major depressive episodes within the adolescent's lifetime). Exclusions: diagnosis of bipolar 1 or schizophrenia (adolescent or parent); current mood disorder (DSM-IV); currently taking antidepressant medication or having received more than eight sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).


four US cities; August 2003–February 2006.


The group CBT prevention programme comprised eight weekly 90 min sessions for mixed sex groups of adolescents (mean group size 6.6). Sessions included cognitive restructuring techniques to challenge negative and unrealistic thoughts and techniques for …

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  • Sources of funding National Institute of Mental Health: grants R01 MH064735, R01 MH64541, R01 MH64717, R01 MH064503, K02 MH066249 and K02 MH01697.


  • Competing interests None

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