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Project Description (14)

Family Cognitive Behavioral Prevention of Depression in Youth and Parents

Study Description

View more information about this study here at the NIH RePORT page.

Depression is a major public health problem affecting over 15 million U.S. adults annually and is especially prevalent in those of parenting age. Offspring of depressed parents are at increased risk of depression and therefore are a critical target for preventive interventions. Informed in part by the investigators’ prior work, the field is now poised to make significant advances toward reducing the rate of depression by adopting an innovative, family-based approach to simultaneously preventing depression in at-risk children and in their affected parents. The rationale for this approach is based on (a) our conceptual model that integrates parenting processes, stressors (particularly those associated with parental depression), and children’s self-regulatory skills in the face of stress, (b) strong evidence of the familial nature of depression, (c) promising results from family- and child-focused depression prevention programs, (d) evidence that in adults, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) reduces both depressive episodes and their recurrence, and (e) growing consensus among scientists, clinicians, and policymakers on the need for family-based models of healthcare. The proposed 5- year, two-site randomized controlled trial will test a Family Depression Prevention (FDP) program for children (ages 9-15) and their parents with depressive disorders (past or current). This “dual prevention” approach is a novel synthesis of existing evidence-based intervention techniques drawn from child prevention and adult treatment models. Participating families will be randomized to either FDP (12 weekly + 3 monthly sessions) or a written information control (WI) condition. Parents and children will be evaluated at pre-, mid-, and immediately post-intervention, and at 6-, 12-, 18-, and 24-months from baseline. This study will be the first test of this innovative integrated intervention designed to simultaneously reduce the incidence of depression in parents and their children.

Other Links and Resources

Study Website:
Helping Families Cope with Stress

Need help finding mental health treatment? Possible resources include:
Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee

See if your family may be eligible by completing this:


This project is funded by a grants (R01MH100258-01A1) from the National Institute of Mental Health and a gift from Patricia and Rodes Hart.