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Brief, personality-targeted, teacher-delivered CBT interventions reduce depression, anxiety and conduct disorder symptoms in high-risk adolescents

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Question: Are brief, teacher-delivered, personality-targeted cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) interventions effective for the treatment of mental health symptoms in high-risk adolescents?

Patients: A total of 1210 year 9 students (age 13–14 years) who scored 1 SD above the school mean on at least one of the four subscales of the Substance Use Risk Profile Scale (SURPS). SURPS assesses variation in personality risk for substance abuse/dependence along four dimensions: sensation seeking, impulsivity, anxiety sensitivity and hopelessness.

Setting: 19 London schools; 2008–2010.

Intervention: Two, 90 min CBT group sessions led by a trained teacher, school counsellor or pastoral member of staff (11 schools) or no intervention (8 schools). CBT sessions were delivered to personality-matched groups according to elevated SURPS subscale (average six adolescents per group). If a child had elevated scores on several subscales, they were assigned to the personality group that most deviated from the norm.

Outcomes: Self-reported depression, …

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  • Sources of funding: Action on Addiction.


  • Competing interests None.

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