Most adolescent depression prevention programs have been tested in the USA and other Anglo-Saxon countries. Their effects in other contexts are less clear. We conducted a pilot trial aimed at testing the effectiveness of the Blues program, a brief indicated cognitive-behavioral (CB) group program to prevent depression originally developed in the USA, in French-Canadian secondary schools. CB group facilitators were endogenous school clinicians. A total of 74 students (mean age= 15.50; 66% female) with elevated depressive symptoms were randomized to CB group (n = 37) or educational brochure control (n = 37). Participants completed diagnostic interviews and surveys at pretest, posttest, and 6-month follow-up. Results showed that CB group had a large, statistically significant effect on MDD onset at 6-month follow-up. CB group also had a positive effect on depressive symptoms, intermediate outcomes (pleasant activities, negative thoughts), and one secondary outcome (improved interaction with parents) at posttest. These effects were not maintained at follow-up. This trial replicates results from a previous US effectiveness trial. The clinically meaningful effects of brief indicated CB group prevention, at least with regard to the prevention of MDD onset, hold in French-Canadian students when the intervention is implemented by school clinicians. Work is still needed to augment and maintain CB effects in real-world practice.
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This study was supported by a research grant from the Fonds de Recherche Québécois sur la Société et la Culture (FRQSC 2016-NP-191870) and an evaluation contract the not-for-profit organization Boscoville. Thanks go to Paul Rohde, as well as the project research assistants and the participants who made this study possible. This RCT was registered on clinicaltrials.gov (FRQSC2016-NP-191870).
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interests to disclose.
Research Involving Human Participants
All procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Montreal. 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. All participants signed a written informed consent, as well as one of their parents.
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Brière, F.N., Reigner, A., Yale-Soulière, G. et al. Effectiveness Trial of Brief Indicated Cognitive-Behavioral Group Depression Prevention in French-Canadian Secondary Schools. School Mental Health 11, 728–740 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-019-09316-2
- Major depression