This is a pilot study of the Girls in Transition (GT) program, an intervention designed to
promote resilience and reduce gender-related risk factors for depression. The goal of the
study is to gather preliminary data on the effects of the GT program.
Gender differences in rates of depression emerge during adolescence. Although rates of
depression increase for both boys and girls during adolescence, the increase is more
dramatic for girls. By late adolescence, girls are twice as likely as boys to develop
depression. Because the transition to adolescence has been identified as a period of
increased risk for girls, preventive interventions targeting early adolescent girls may
promote resilience and prevent depression. The Girls in Transition (GT) program is a group
intervention for 6th through 8th grade girls and is designed to address risk factors that
are specific to girls. This study evaluates the effectiveness of the GT intervention in
promoting coping strategies, preventing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and providing
benefits in other outcomes related to depression, such as self-image.
Adolescents in this study will be assigned to one of two conditions: a group that will
participate in the GT program in Spring 2006 (GT #1), or a waitlist control group that will
participate in the GT program approximately two years later (GT #2). Students who
participate in the program will attend eleven 90-minute after-school sessions led by the
investigators. In the GT program, students learn cognitive-behavioral skills (such as
strategies to cope with emotions and negative thinking) and problem-solving skills (such as
assertiveness), and they discuss societal messages about women's appearance and roles.
Adolescent participants will complete questionnaires about coping strategies, self-image,
and feelings of hopelessness, depression and anxiety at five points during the study: at the
beginning of the study (baseline) and at follow-ups approximately 6, 12, 16, and 24 months
after baseline. In addition, students will complete an interview at baseline and then again
12 months later about experiences in which they have coped with stressful situations.
Parents will complete a questionnaire about their child's life events at three assessment
points (baseline and at follow-ups approximately 12 and 24 months after baseline).
- Student in grades 6 through 8
- Student in participating school