Program

Nov 11, 2011

OVERVIEW

Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST) is a prevention
program for adolescent depression, targeted at adolescents with elevated
depression symptoms. It teaches adolescents interpersonal and communication
skills in a group format. In an experimental evaluation, IPT-AST adolescents
reported significantly fewer depression symptoms at post-intervention and at the
6-month follow-up. At the 12- and 18-month follow-ups they were no longer
different from adolescents in the control group.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target
population:

Adolescents with elevated depression symptoms (but not with diagnosis of
depression).

IPT-AST is
a group intervention program that develops interpersonal skills to address
problematic relationships and promote positive ones, with a goal of reducing
symptoms of depression. It involves two pre-group sessions and eight 90-minute
group sessions, and takes place over the course of two years. During the
pre-group session, the group leader assesses depressive symptoms and conducts an
interpersonal inventory. During the group sessions, which take place after
school, adolescents learn about the symptoms of depression and about different
communication and interpersonal strategies. The program is administered by
masters- or doctoral-level psychologists or child psychiatrists. Group sizes
range from four to six adolescents.

EVALUATION
OF PROGRAM

Young, J.
F., Mufson, L., Gallop, F. (2010) Preventing depression: A randomized trial of
Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training. Depression and
Anxiety, 27,
426-433.

Evaluated
population: 
Fifty-seven adolescents with elevated depression symptoms participated.
Recruitment occurred at three single-sex high schools – two girls’ schools and
one boys’ school – targeting 9th and 10th graders.
Adolescents were eligible to participate if they had elevated depression
symptoms, but did not have a current diagnosis of depression or other mental
health disorder. Participants were on average 14.51 years old, 60 percent
female, 74 percent Hispanic (most of the rest were Afican American), and 70
percent living in single-parent homes.

Approach:
Adolescents were randomized to receive the IPT-AST (n = 36) or school counseling
(n = 21), which was the control condition. Randomization occurred using a table
of random numbers. Data were collected at baseline, post-intervention, and at
6-, 12-, and 18-month follow-ups. Outcomes measured were depression and overall
functioning, most via adolescent self-report; one measure was clinician-rated.
There were no baseline differences. Clustering of adolescents in the seven
groups of IPT-AST was not adjusted for because of the small number of groups and
adolescents.

Results:
IPT-AST
adolescents reported greater declines in depressive symptoms, and increases in
overall functioning, compared with adolescents in the control group receiving
school counseling from baseline to post-intervention. At post-intervention,
IPT-AST adolescents reported significantly fewer depression symptoms and better
overall functioning. Effect sizes of the rates of change across the different
outcomes ranged from .68 to .86 during the treatment phase, with IPT-AST
adolescents showing greater rates of improvement.

During the
follow-up phase, however, rates of change in depression symptoms and overall
functioning slowed for the IPT-AST adolescents, whereas the control adolescents
continued to improve. By the 12-month follow-up, there were no significant mean
differences in depression symptoms or overall functioning between IPT-AST and
control adolescents. Effect sizes of the rates of change across the different
outcomes ranged from .24 to .67 during the follow-up phase, with control
adolescents showing greater rates of improvement.

Limitations.
Although
235 adolescents were eligible to participate, only 79 agreed to participate, and
a second screening process decreased the sample to 57. As such, the evaluated
population is a small subset of the target population. Furthermore, although
attrition in the IPT-AST group was very low (36 students at baseline fell to 32
at the 18-month follow-up), attrition was high for the control group (21
students at baseline fell to 12 at the 18-month follow-up). It is possible that
more depressed adolescents were more likely to attrite, thus leaving the control
group with less depressed adolescents by the 12- and 18-month follow-ups.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Young, J.
F., Mufson, L., Gallop, F. (2010) Preventing depression: A randomized trial of
Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training. Depression and
Anxiety, 27,
426-433.

KEYWORDS:
Adolescents (12-17); High School; Males and Females (Co-ed); School-based;
Skills Training; Depression/Mood Disorders; Mental Health Other,
Social/Emotional Health Other

Program
information last updated on 11/11/11.