Date of Award:

1992

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Jay R. Skidmore

Abstract

Clinical depression is the most frequently reported mental health problem for adolescents. Previously studied psychological treatment approaches for adolescent depression have recently been combined and packaged into a comprehensive psychoeducational intervention titled the Adolescent Coping With Depression Course (ACWDC). This study investigated whether treatment of clinically depressed adolescents using the ACWDC resulted in significant emotional, behavioral, and/or academic performance changes as reported by the adolescent, and observed by the parents and teachers.

Nineteen clinically depressed adolescents were identified by screening 876 students in a local high school, using a multistage screening procedure. All selected subjects met the DSM III-R criteria of major depression or dysthymia. Identified subjects were randomly assigned to either a treatment or a waitlist-control condition. Subjects in the treatment condition received treatment while subjects in the waitlist-control condition received no treatment until after the completion of the study (eight weeks later). Treatment consisted of participation in the ACWDC, conducted in 12 two-hour teaching sessions held over an eight-week period after school. Outcome measures included a variety of self-report, teacher, and parent rating scales. A pretest-posttest randomized experimental design was utilized to examine treatment effects.

At post-testing, subjects receiving treatment reported significantly greater decreases in depression and problem behaviors than subjects not receiving treatment. However, at post-testing there were no significant differences between treatment conditions on parent- and teacher-observed problem behaviors, or teacher-reported academic performance changes.

Based on the results of this study and previous studies, participation by clinically depressed adolescents in the ACWDC does result in significant self-reported decreases in depression and problem behaviors. However, contrary to expectations, these self-reported changes have not been consistently observed by parents or teachers in reductions of problem behaviors at home or school, nor in significant teacher-observed academic improvement at school.

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Psychology Commons

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