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Surprising Science

Group Programs Shown to Prevent Childhood Depression

  A systematic review has shown that psychological interventions to prevent depression in children and adolescents have protective effects that last for up to a year.   

What’s the Latest Development?


A systematic review has shown that psychological interventions to prevent depression in children and adolescents have protective effects. Young people who participated in prevention programs were significantly less likely to have a depressive disorder in the year following the program than youth who did not participate. The research team analyzed 53 studies including a total of 14,406 participants aged 5 to 19.

What’s the Big Idea?

The prevention programs were diverse and generally involved groups. An advantage of group-based prevention strategies is their potential to reach more individuals than most other treatment approaches. Most of the psychological interventions included some components of cognitive behavioral therapy, others emphasized self-efficacy, stress reduction techniques and methods for handling trauma and maintaining optimism.

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