In recognition of the considerable risk and impairment associated with elevated symptoms of depression in adolescence, there has been a call for an increase in the indicated preventive intervention research. Based on the need for innovative prevention programs for depression and the benefits of providing these programs in schools, we developed a school-based preventive intervention program called Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST). This presentation will provide an overview of the goals, components, and techniques of IPT-AST and will summarize results from three randomized clinical trials of IPT-AST that have been implemented in schools.
Studies 1 and 2 compared IPT-AST to usual school counseling for adolescents with elevated symptoms of depression. Study 3 compared IPT-AST delivered by research personnel to group-counseling delivered by school counselors. Findings on depression symptoms, depression diagnoses, overall functioning, and anxiety symptoms from these three studies will be reported.
There is evidence that IPT-AST is effective at reducing depressive symptoms and improving overall functioning. IPT-AST may also be effective at reducing the risk of depression onset. Although IPT-AST was developed initially as a depression prevention program, IPT-AST results in significant reduction in anxiety symptoms and broadband internalizing problems, suggesting a transdiagnostic impact.
IPT-AST is a promising depression prevention program, with growing evidence of efficacy. The presentation will conclude with areas for future direction.