Program

Apr 20, 2009

OVERVIEW

The STOP technique and the Insight program were designed for single mothers who are in poverty and at-risk for depression.  The program is a cognitive behavior intervention and consisted of thought-blocking activities as well as group therapy sessions.  A randomized evaluation of the program found that it was effective in reducing depressive symptoms, negative thinking, and chronic stressors among mothers with children ages 2-6 years.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: Low income, single mothers who are at-risk for depression

Mothers in the STOP and Insight intervention program attend either 4 or 6 sessions that are an hour to hour-and-a-half long, for a total of 6 hours.  The program was based on three main components derived from other researchers.  The STOP technique, developed by Meichenbaum (1997), is listed as the primary component and was developed as a way to interrupt negative thinking.  After the negative thought is stopped, a positive thought, or affirmation, is substituted.  Mothers were taught to record themselves reciting positive thoughts and were also instructed to leave positive messages around their work and home.  The Insight program was developed by Gordon (1991) served as the resource for developing group sessions and protocols for group treatment (4-8 women).  The Depression Workbook by Copeland (1992) was also used as a resource for information on thought stopping, affirmations, and distorted thinking.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Peden, A. R., Rayens, M. K., Hall, L. A., & Grant E. (2005).  Testing an intervention to reduce negative thinking, depressive symptoms, and chronic stressors in low-income single mothers.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 37(3), 268-274.

Evaluated population: 205 low-income, single mothers with children ages 2-6 years.  To qualify for the study, mothers had to be below 185% of the poverty level and could not be currently receiving any therapy or medication for depression.  136 of the mothers in the sample were characterized as being at-risk for depressive symptoms based on their Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores.  The mean age for mothers in the study was 27.2 years.  52% of the sample was white, and the majority of the rest of the sample was African American.  57% of mothers were employed, and 58% of the mothers had never been married.

Approach: Before admittance into the study, mothers were assessed on measures of depressive symptoms, negative thinking, and chronic stressors.  Mothers who qualified as at-risk for depression on the depression instrument were accepted into the study and randomly assigned to either the intervention condition or a control condition.  Mothers in the intervention condition attended either six 1-hour or four 90-minute group sessions over a period of 4-6 weeks.  One month and six months after the intervention, mothers were assessed on measures of depressive symptoms, negative thoughts, and chronic stressors.

Results: Mothers in the treatment condition had a lower score on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) at both the 1 and 6 month follow-ups compared with mothers in the control condition.  Mothers in the treatment condition also had lower scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) measure of depression at both the 1 and 6 month follow-ups compared with mothers in the control group.  Negative thinking was measured by the Crandall Cognitions Inventory (CCI) and showed that mothers in the intervention condition had fewer negative cognitions at both the 1 and 6 month follow-ups compared with mothers in the control group.  The number of chronic stressors was measured by the Everyday Stressors Index and showed that mothers in the intervention condition reported lower stressor scores at both the 1 and 6 month follow-ups compared with mothers in the control group.

One limitation of this evaluation was the attrition rate; 63% of mothers in the experimental group and 70% of the control groups completed both of the follow-up data collection interviews.  This moderate level of attrition was expected due to the high turbulence schedules that these low-income, single mothers experienced.  In an additional analysis of these groups, the researchers concluded that there were no statistical difference between mothers who stayed in the study and mothers who dropped out.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Program materials for the Insight program can be found at: http://www.insightforwomen.com/index.htm

Program materials for the Depression Workbook can be found at:

http://www.newharbinger.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=95

References

Peden, A. R., Rayens, M. K., Hall, L. A., & Grant E. (2005).  Testing an intervention to reduce negative thinking, depressive symptoms, and chronic stressors in low-income single mothers.  Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 37(3), 268-274.

Program also discussed in the following Child Trends publication(s):

[Reference of either American Teens (KF) or Clark documents that discuss program; these will be linked to the actual docs online]

KEYWORDS: Depression; Mood Disorders; Mental Health; High Risk; Early Childhood (0-5); White or Caucasian; Black or African American; Parent or Family Component; Anxiety; Gender-specific (female only).

Program information last updated 4/20/09

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