Category: Transdiagnostic


Family Cognitive Behavioral Prevention of Depression: Progress and Prospects

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

Keywords: Depression | Families | Prevention
Presentation Type: Symposium

Parental depression represents a potent risk for depression and other forms of psychopathology in children of parents with a history of major depressive disorder (Beardslee et al., 2011). Therefore, parents with a history of MDD and their children are an important target for preventive interventions. This presentation summarizes findings from a randomized controlled trial testing a Family Group Cognitive Behavioral preventive intervention with depressed parents and their children and reports on an ongoing RCT testing an enhanced version of the intervention.

 The initial test of the FGCB intervention provided important findings regarding efficacy and mechanisms of effects (N=180 families). Compared with an information control condition, the FGCB intervention led to significantly lower internalizing and externalizing symptoms in children (9-15 years old) over 2-years and reduced rates of youth MDD youth in the intervention (13%) compared with controls (26%); OR=2.37, p=.035 (Compas et al., 2015). Intervention effects were mediated by increases in children’s secondary control coping skills (e.g., cognitive reappraisal) and improvements in positive parenting (Compas et al., 2010). Changes in parenting led to increases in children’s use of secondary control coping (Watson et al., 2014) and reductions in parents’ depressive symptoms mediated intervention effects on positive parenting (Forehand et al., 2012). However, the FGCB intervention did not lead to reductions in MDD recurrences in parents and 13% of children in the FGCB intervention had at least one MDE over 2 years.

 An ongoing RCT is testing an enhanced version of the FGCB intervention (Compas, Garber, Weersing) designed to reduce recurrences of MDD in parents and prevent MDD onset in children. Novel components of this intervention include use of CBT methods to address parents’ negative cognitions about their children and about themselves as parents, and children are taught a wider array of skills to cope with family and in peer stress. To date, 108 families have been randomized to the enhanced FGCB intervention vs. information control and initial findings from this new trial will be presented. 

Bruce E. Compas

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


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Family Cognitive Behavioral Prevention of Depression: Progress and Prospects

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