The online mediation program can help prevent depressive episodes among adolescents who are most at risk, the study found. Although every year up to 20% of adolescents experience a depressive episode, the medical community struggled to implement programs that effectively prevent depression.
Researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA, sought to fill this gap by carrying out clinical trials to assess and compare interventions. A study published in JAMA Network Open highlights the positive effects of CATCH-IT, online brokering.
Multicenter, randomized clinical trials compared the CATCH-IT intervention – which included models for online learning that were specific to depression, motivational interviews and training – with a control intervention. Surveillance intervention included general health education and similar was provided through modules for online learning. The study included more than 350 adolescents aged 13 to 18 from a mixture of rural and urban areas. The participants had either a history of depression or depressive symptoms that were measured and assigned during the examination. Researchers have been monitoring depressive episodes for two years.
While depressive symptoms decreased in all participants, no differences were found between groups, except in adolescents with a higher risk whose depressive symptoms reached a high value in primary screening. Among this group, individuals who participated in CATCH-IT intervention showed a greater benefit and achieved an 80% reduction in the risk of experiencing a depressive episode.
The signs of depression in young people are often delayed because they are more likely to show the symptoms of irritability, anger and withdrawal than sadness. (Shutterstock)
"This study tells us that online mediation works best for those with worse symptoms," said Benjamin Van Voorhees, chief researcher of the study.
"We assumed that it would be a benefit for all participants, but it may have even more been said that in smaller groups of risky adolescents such a significant reduction in risk is seen. Depression should be shifted from reactive drugs to wider prevention, but we must be successful, we need more research on what interventions work and for which patients in primary health care, "said Van Voorhees. CATCH-IT is an abbreviation for the competence of adults with cognitive behavioral humanistic and interpersonal training and was designed to give students and young adults skillful skill.
20 modules were included in the intervention, of which 15 for adolescents. The other five were for the parents. Data in the modules were based primarily on previously confirmed educational materials on the elimination of depression and behavioral and interpersonal psychotherapeutic methods. Examples of modules included insights on how to avoid negative thoughts, identify triggers and custom responses, and how to solve problems in stressful situations. The control group intervention included 14 modules for adolescents and four models for parents who taught general health topics such as good nutrition, sleep, physical exercise and safety habits.
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First Published: November 5, 2018 16:34 IST