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Adolescent depressive disorders and family based interventions in the family options multicenter evaluation: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Lewis, A.J., Bertino, M.D., Skewes, J., Shand, L., Borojevic, N., Knight, T., Lubman, D.I. and Toumbourou, J.W. (2013) Adolescent depressive disorders and family based interventions in the family options multicenter evaluation: Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 14 (1). p. 384.

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There is increasing community and government recognition of the magnitude and impact of adolescent depression. Family based interventions have significant potential to address known risk factors for adolescent depression and could be an effective way of engaging adolescents in treatment. The evidence for family based treatments of adolescent depression is not well developed. The objective of this clinical trial is to determine whether a family based intervention can reduce rates of unipolar depressive disorders in adolescents, improve family functioning and engage adolescents who are reluctant to access mental health services.

The Family Options study will determine whether a manualized family based intervention designed to target both individual and family based factors in adolescent depression (BEST MOOD) will be more effective in reducing unipolar depressive disorders than an active (standard practice) control condition consisting of a parenting group using supportive techniques (PAST). The study is a multicenter effectiveness randomized controlled trial. Both interventions are delivered in group format over eight weekly sessions, of two hours per session. We will recruit 160 adolescents (12 to 18 years old) and their families, randomized equally to each treatment condition. Participants will be assessed at baseline, eight weeks and 20 weeks. Assessment of eligibility and primary outcome will be conducted using the KID-SCID structured clinical interview via adolescent and parent self-report. Assessments of family mental health, functioning and therapeutic processes will also be conducted. Data will be analyzed using Multilevel Mixed Modeling accounting for time x treatment effects and random effects for group and family characteristics. This trial is currently recruiting. Challenges in design and implementation to-date are discussed. These include diagnosis and differential diagnosis of mental disorders in the context of adolescent development, non-compliance of adolescents with requirements of assessment, questionnaire completion and treatment attendance, breaking randomization, and measuring the complexity of change in the context of a family-based intervention.

Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Title: engaging youth with high prevalence mental health problems using family based interventions; number 12612000398808. Prospectively registered on 10 April 2012.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright: © 2013 Lewis et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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