Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depressed Adolescents Exposed to Interpersonal Trauma: An Initial Effectiveness Trial.

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Four clinical trials have shown that a history of interpersonal trauma is associated with diminished response to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for adolescent depression. An efficacious CBT protocol for adolescent depression was modified to address cognitive deficits and distortions associated with interpersonal trauma. Initial feasibility, acceptability, and treatment impact of the modified treatment (m-CBT) were evaluated in a randomized effectiveness trial conducted in community clinics. Clients were 43 referred adolescents with a depressive disorder and a history of interpersonal trauma. Adolescents either received m-CBT or usual care (UC) therapy. Results indicated that m-CBT was delivered with good fidelity by community clinicians, but that number of sessions completed was attenuated in both m-CBT and UC. Adolescents reported high levels of treatment satisfaction and acceptability for the new treatment. There were significant reductions in depressive symptoms over time, but no differences in outcomes between groups. Although the new treatment produced promising results, it did not outperform UC. Implications for treatment development are considered.

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