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Counseling and Human Development


Objective: Depressive disorders in adolescents are a widespread problem with extensive psychosocial consequences. We designed a school-based program to prevent the increase of depressive symptoms. We expect the program to reduce dysfunctional automatic thoughts and improve social skills and thus prevent the increase of depressive symptoms. Method: The design includes a training group and a non-treatment control group with pre- and post-measurement and 3- and 6-month follow-ups. We followed 324 eighth graders in both groups. School classes were randomly assigned to one of the two groups. The prevention program, LISA-T, is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy concepts and targets of cognitive and social aspects. It comprises 10 meetings of 1.5 hours in a regular school setting. Results: Increases of depressive symptoms in non-depressed adolescents in the training group were prevented over a 6-month period. Furthermore, adolescents with subsyndromal depression in the training group reported fewer symptoms, whereas depressive symptoms within the control group did not change. However, the groups did not differ with regard to social skills, frequency of negative automatic thoughts, and depressive symptoms before the prevention program. Conclusions: LISA-T is an effective school-based prevention program for eighth graders with minimal to mild depressive symptoms, but further research is needed.


© 2004. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license

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Original Publication Information

Pössel, Patrick, Andrea B. Horn, Gunter Groen and Martin Hautzinger. "School-based Universal Primary Prevention of Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents: Results of a 6-Month Follow-up." 2004. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43(8): 1003–1010.