The purpose of this research study is to assess the feasibility of a combined primary
care/web-based depression prevention intervention. Primary care physicians (PCP) currently
lack an alternative behaviorally-based approach to antidepressant medications for
individuals with depression symptoms or minor depression, but who have not yet developed
The objective of this study is to compare the feasibility and efficacy of motivational
interviewing (MI) versus brief advice in primary care to engage adolescents with a web-based
depression prevention intervention.
There is no population-based approach to prevent the onset of major depression in
adolescence. Adolescents with current sub-threshold depression symptoms (not meeting
criteria for major depression, 5 < symptoms including depressed mood, irritability or loss
of pleasure), a personal history of a depressive episode in the past or with a family
history of depressive disorders are at increased risk. Because most adolescents have
regular contact with primary care physicians, the primary care clinics could provide a
setting to disseminate evidence-based preventive approaches. We have developed a combined
primary care/Web-based preventive intervention to reduce the risk of developing depressive
disorders in adolescents and young adults by adapting interventions of demonstrated benefit
in study settings to a primary care/Web-based format in collaboration with leading
investigators in the field. The goal of this research program is to evaluate the
feasibility and possible efficacy of an alternative delivery mechanism for evidence-based
behavioral approaches to depression treatment and prevention that have already demonstrated
benefit with face-to-face delivery in study settings. Each component this intervention
will need to be carefully evaluated for acceptability, safety, feasibility and efficacy.
The focus of this study is the primary care component.
Inclusion criteria include:
- (1) age 14-18 years and
- (2) one risk factor for developing depression in the next two years: sub-clinical
depressed mood (not meeting criteria of major depression),
- a family history of depression in a parent or sibling, or past personal history of
depression or personal perception of risk depression and desire to participate
- criteria include meeting criteria or undergoing active treatment for major depression
(5 or more symptoms nearly every day with functional impairment, minor depression),
- bipolar disorder,
- panic disorder,
- conduct disorder,
- substance abuse or having suicidal ideation.
- Active treatment for depression is defined as receiving anti-depressant medication or
counseling within one year of remission of symptoms from the most recent episode.
- Those who meet DSM-IV criteria for minor depression (3-4 symptoms) or who report
significant functional impairment (very difficult or above on the Prime MD functional
impairment scale) will be notified and offered a referral for an evaluation by a
mental health specialist (and will be strongly encouraged to attend).
- Those with 1-2 symptoms of depression will also be offered evaluation and treatment
from a mental health specialist. In each case, the primary care physician will be
notified and the parents (if under the age of 19).