Jul 21, 2011


The Resourceful
Adolescent Program is a school-based, eleven-session intervention program aimed
at preventing depression in adolescents. Through group treatment aimed at Year
9 adolescents, sessions use a combination of approaches, including
cognitive-behavioral therapy and addressing interpersonal risk and protective
factors for depression. A parallel program for adults, consisting of three
sessions, is also in place to address severe family conflict as a risk factor,
as well as the protective factors of warm and responsive parent-adolescent
relationships. An evaluation of the program found that there were significant
positive impacts on lowering depression immediately following the intervention
program. While depression scores remained slightly lower through the 18-month
follow-up, the small, continuing positive impacts were only statistically
significant according to one of the two measures of depression (Reynolds
Adolescent Depression Scale and not the Beck Depression Inventory).


Early to late adolescents

The intervention
consists of having adolescents participate in eleven weekly group treatment
sessions (designed to be composed of 8 to 12 student participants per group),
conducted by teachers for 40 to 50 minutes during school class time. Sessions 1
through 7 are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy approaches (including
establishing rapport, affirmation of existing strengths, promoting
self-management and self-calming skills in the face of stress, cognitive
restructuring, and problem solving), while sessions 8 through 10 are focused on
addressing interpersonal risk and protective factors in adolescent development
(including building and accessing psychological support networks, and
interpersonal components designed to promote family harmony and avoid escalation
of conflict). Session 11 consists of a summary and termination of the program.
During the interpersonal component of the intervention, perspective taking, role
transitions during adolescence, and skills for broadening social support and
promoting harmony/avoiding conflict are emphasized.

Parents also
participate in three group-based sessions held at three-week intervals during
the eleven-week period of the adolescent program. Each session lasts for three
hours and is designed to focus on the risk factor presented by severe family
conflict and the promotion of protective factors through warm and responsive
parent-adolescent relationships. Specifics of the sessions include identifying
existing parental strengths, identifying and managing stress to encourage more
effective and calm parenting (session 1), providing information on normal
adolescent development, strategies for promoting adolescent self-esteem,
balancing issues with attachment and independence (session 2), and providing
strategies to manage conflict and promote family harmony (session 3).

Each component of
the Resourceful Adolescent Program has its own separately priced materials, but
for the adolescent and parent programs discussed above, both have group leader’s
manuals priced at $68 each and participant workbooks for $15 each.


540 Year 10 and Year 9 (ages 13 and 14) students from two
different schools (selected due to the ethnicity of nearly all students being
either Pakeha or Maori) in Auckland, New Zealand were recruited for the study,
with 392 agreeing to participate and returning written consent forms. To be
included in the study, students had to both return the consent form and be able
to speak English. Participants were not significantly different at baseline.
The majority of students were ethnically Pakeha (60% and 58% – intervention and
placebo) or Maori (25% and 30%).

Participating students were randomly assigned to either the intervention (RAP-
Kiwi, N=192) or control group (placebo, N=172). Control conditions consisted of
students engaging in a program that emphasized having fun, rather than actually
preventing depression. Students in the placebo had weekly group meetings with a
supportive adult that allowed them to take time away from regular classes.
Activities for this condition were focused around arts and crafts rather than
cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques. The intervention was adapted to be
applicable to New Zealand adolescents, and materials were provided in English
and Maori.

To measure the
effectiveness of the intervention, the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and
the Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale (RADS) were used to indicate levels of
depression in students. Both measures were administered, and data were
collected, at baseline, immediately following the conclusion of the
intervention, and at 6, 12, and 18 month follow-ups.

Immediately following the intervention, a significant reduction in depression
scores was found for students in the intervention group, on both measures of
depression. For the follow-up periods, depression scores were significantly
lower across all time points for intervention group students (than those in the
placebo group), but only on the RADS measure. This demonstrated a small,
significant impact.



Merry, S.,
McDowell, H., Wild, C.J., Bir, J., & Cunliffe, R. (2004). A randomized
placebo-controlled trial of a school-based depression prevention program. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(5),


Adolescents, Middle School, High School, Males and Females, School-based, Cost
Information is Available, Manual is Available, Counseling/Therapy, Parent or
Family Component, Depression/Mood Disorders, Parent-Child Relationship

information last updated 7/21/11

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