Do Immediate Gains Predict Long-Term Symptom Change? Findings from a Randomized Trial of a Single-Session Intervention for Youth Anxiety and Depression
Single-session interventions (SSIs) can help reduce youth psychopathology, but SSIs may benefit some youths more than others. Identifying predictors of SSIs’ effectiveness may clarify youths’ likelihoods of benefitting from an SSI alone, versus requiring further treatment. We tested whether pre-to-post-SSI shifts in hypothesized symptom change mechanisms predicted subsequent reductions in youth internalizing symptoms. Data were from a trial evaluating whether an SSI teaching growth mindset (the belief that personality is malleable) reduced youth anxiety and depression. Youths (N = 96, ages 12–15) self-reported growth mindsets, perceived primary control, and perceived secondary control pre- and immediately post-intervention. They self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms at pre-intervention and 3, 6, and 9-month follow-ups. Larger immediate increases in primary control predicted steeper depressive symptoms declines across the follow-up; larger immediate increases in secondary control predicted steeper anxiety symptoms declines. Immediate shifts in proximal intervention “targets” may predict longer-term response to an SSI for youth internalizing distress.
Clinicaltrials.gov registration: NCT03132298.
KeywordsSingle-session intervention Brief intervention Anxiety Depression Mindset
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (F31 MH108280), an Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Fellowship from the American Psychological Foundation; and a Julius B. Richmond Fellowship from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, all awarded to the first author.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to report pertaining to the research described in this manuscript.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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