Research news: July 2009
Teenagers with depressed parents are more likely to become depressed themselves; however, emerging evidence indicates that cognitive behaviour therapy can reduce the risk. Researchers recently tested the effect of eight weekly sessions of group cognitive behaviour therapy followed by six monthly sessions in 316 teenagers aged 13-17 years old. All had a parent with current or past depression and had mild symptoms or a past history of depression themselves. Cognitive behaviour therapy was better than usual care at preventing new episodes of depression over nine months of follow-up (21.4% v 32.7%; hazard ratio 0.63, 95% confidence interval 0.40 to 0.98) and helped reduce self reported symptoms. Therapy worked better in teenagers whose parents were not currently depressed than in those with a depressed parent (11.7% v 40.5%; 0.24, 0.11 to 0.50).
More than four fifths of the teenage participants had a history of depression, so therapy essentially helped