Behavioral Activation With Depressed Adolescents

2014-08-27 03:13:10 | BioPortfolio


Twenty percent of adolescents will have at least one episode of clinical depression by age 18, and 65% will experience transient or less severe depressive symptoms. Depression compromises the process of adolescent development by interfering with academic, occupational, and social functioning, and increasing risk for substance use and suicide. Although initial research provides some support for both pharmacological and psychosocial interventions, many depressed teens do not respond to these interventions, and others experience a relapse of symptoms within one year. Furthermore, concerns about antidepressant medications increasing suicide risk have raised additional caution about use of pharmacotherapy with adolescents. As such, the importance of developing innovative treatment options for depressed adolescents is critical. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of depressed adults, with more modest efficacy data when used with children and adolescents. Interestingly, recent data from the adult literature suggests the positive outcomes of CBT can be achieved and surpassed by interventions that are purely behavioral in nature. Behavioral interventions may be easier to implement with many adolescents and may provide a better developmental fit for depressed adolescents. The present project proposes to develop a manualized Behavioral Activation (BA) Therapy for depressed adolescents, test its adaptability, acceptability, and feasibility in an open clinical trial with 12 adolescents (aged 12-17), and following further treatment refinement, test its efficacy in a randomized controlled trial of 50 adolescents (aged 12-17), in which 25 will be randomized to BA Therapy and 25 will receive "Treatment as Usual (TAU)." In this randomized controlled trial, depressed adolescents will receive 12-weeks of BA Therapy or TAU. Psychiatric and psychosocial functioning will be assessed at the beginning, middle, and end of treatment. A naturalistic follow-up will be conducted 4 and 9 months post-treatment. Assuming that BA will outperform "usual" approaches to therapy with depressed youth, the data will provide the basis for the development of a larger randomized controlled trial comparing the efficacy of BA against other widely studied approaches to the treatment of depression in youth, namely pharmacotherapy in the form of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), and CBT.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Active Control, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment




Behavioral Activation Therapy, Treatment as Usual- Psychotherapy


Seattle Children's Hospital
United States


Enrolling by invitation


Seattle Children's Hospital

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:13:10-0400

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