Category: Child / Adolescent - Depression

PS2- #C84 - Changes in Adolescent Social Skills Following Depression Prevention Interventions

Friday, Nov 17
9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescent Depression | Prevention | School

Introduction: Given the impairment associated with adolescent depression, it is crucial to examine the efficacy of depression prevention programs (Thapar, Collishaw, Pine, & Thapar, 2012). Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST) is an indicated group depression prevention intervention that targets interpersonal issues related to depression’s onset. In comparison with usual school counseling, IPT-AST has been shown to have a greater effect on depressive symptoms, depression diagnoses, and overall functioning (e.g., Young et al., 2016; Young, Mufson, & Gallop, 2010). Intervention research has largely focused on symptom outcomes; greater investigation of supplementary outcomes is needed (Kazdin, 2002). Few studies to date have examined changes in social skills following participation in depression prevention programs (Roberts, Kane, Thomson, Bishop, & Hart, 2003).


Objectives: This study examines changes in social skills, as reported by multiple raters, following participation in two preventative interventions, in an RCT that compared IPT-AST as delivered by research staff to group counseling (GC) provided by school counselors.


Methods: Adolescents (N=186) were randomly assigned to participate in either GC or IPT-AST for 8 weekly group sessions followed by 3 booster sessions. The Social Skills Improvement System (SSiS) was used to measure changes in social skills from baseline to 6-month follow-up across 3 respondents (student, teacher, and parent). The SSiS has a total score and seven subscales. HLM analyses, which account for the nesting of teens in groups, examined rates of change across the two conditions.


Results: Teens in both conditions reported significant improvements in social skills on all subscales through the 6-month follow-up; there were no significant differences in rates of change between the intervention groups. Teachers reported significant improvements on all subscales for IPT-AST youth and on some subscales for GC youth; there was a significant difference in rates of change on teacher-reported responsibility favoring IPT-AST (t(155) = 2.19, p = .03). Finally, parents reported significant improvements for GC youth on 4 subscales and IPT-AST youth on 1 subscale; there were no significant differences in rates of change between the intervention groups.


Conclusions: Findings indicate that youth in both conditions experienced improvements in social skills over the course of the prevention programs, with some evidence of significant differential effects on teacher-reported responsibility.

Marissa D. Sbrilli

Research Assistant
Rutgers University, GSAPP
Hillsborough, New Jersey

Jami F. Young

Rutgers University, GSAPP

Jessica S. Benas

Rutgers University, GSAPP

Robert Gallop

Associate Professor
West Chester University
West Chester, Pennsylvania