Category: Transdiagnostic


Symposium 87 - Novel Targets and Change Mechanisms in Prevention

Saturday, November 18
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom B, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: CBT | Prevention | Randomized Controlled Trial
Presentation Type: Symposium

The World Health Report suggests that one out of every four individuals will experience mental health problems during their lifetime. Costs of poor mental health have been estimated to account for between 3-4% of GDP in developed countries (Peletier et al., 1998). A growing body of literature provides evidence on the effectiveness of a range of prevention programs (see Zechmeister et al., 2008). However, data from these trials suggest that extending current efforts to prevent mental illnesses are in the public health interest. The current symposium presents four studies that investigate novel targets or change mechanisms in prevention.

Stice and Colleagues compare a novel prevention program (Project Health - PH) aimed at creating dissonance about unhealthy eating, a sedentary lifestyle, and excess weight to the Healthy Weight (HW) prevention program, which promotes gradual lifestyle changes to bring energy intake and expenditure into balance. Compared to HW participants and controls, PH participants showed significantly smaller increases in BMI at 1- and 2-year follow-up, significantly lower overweight/obesity onset over 2-year follow-up. They also showed significantly greater eating disorder symptom reductions than controls at posttest, and at 2-year follow-up. Results suggest that adding dissonance-induction activities increased weight loss effects.

The second study describes a 12-week CB and trauma-informed group indicated intervention (Strength at Home – SAH) to prevent IPV among military and veteran populations. Among those veterans at risk for IPV use but who started the program with no IPV behaviors in the past 3 months, 70% remained free from IPV behaviors while only 27.8% converted to an IPV positive status. For those veterans who exhibited IPV in the past, SAH resulted in a significant decrease in types of IPV used, and a significant reduction in those who reported using physical IPV from baseline to the post-intervention phase. Results also indicated a significant pre-post-intervention reduction in PTSD symptoms. This study suggests that the training program provided was largely successful in both preventing and treating IPV among veterans.

The third presentation describes a small pilot study conducted by McGinn and colleagues designed to examine the feasibility of an innovative exposure based paradigm to minimize increases in depression caused by Interferon, a medical treatment for Hepatitis C. The study demonstrated that an enhanced non-pharmacological prevention intervention is feasible for use in patients at risk for developing pharmacologically induced depression and may reduce the symptoms of depression that develop as a side effect to taking these medications.

The last study is based on a prior RCT that tested a Family Group Cognitive Behavioral preventive intervention (FGCB). Using the results from this trial, Compas and colleagues describe an enhanced version of this intervention to reduce recurrences of MDD in parents and prevent MDD onset in children.  Novel components of this intervention include use of strategies to address parents’ negative cognitions about their children and about themselves as parents. Children are taught a wider array of skills to cope with family and peer stress.



Learning Objectives:

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Colleen S. Conley

Associate Professor
Loyola University Chicago


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    Eric Stice

    Senior Scientist
    Oregon Research Institute


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    Suzannah K. Creech

    Clinical Research Psychologist, Treatment Core
    VHA VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans and the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Dell Medical School of the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Psychiatry


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    Bruce E. Compas

    Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Psychology and Human Development
    Vanderbilt University


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    Symposium 87 - Novel Targets and Change Mechanisms in Prevention

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