The efficacy of a universal school-based program to prevent adolescent depression

J Clin Child Psychol. 2001 Sep;30(3):303-15. doi: 10.1207/S15374424JCCP3003_3.


Evaluated whether a universal school-based program, designed to prevent depression in adolescents, could be effectively implemented within the constraints of the school environment. Participants were 260 Year 9 secondary school students. Students completed measures of depressive symptoms and hopelessness and were then assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (a) Resourceful Adolescent Program-Adolescents (RAP-A), an 11-session school-based resilience building program, as part of the school curriculum; (b) Resourceful Adolescent Program-Family (RAP-F), the same program as in RAP-A, but in which each student's parents were also invited to participate in a 3-session parent program; and (c) Adolescent Watch, a comparison group in which adolescents simply completed the measures. The program was implemented with a high recruitment (88%), low attrition rate (5.8%), and satisfactory adherence to program protocol. Adolescents in either of the RAP programs reported significantly lower levels of depressive symptomatology and hopelessness at post-intervention and 10-month follow-up, compared with those in the comparison group. Adolescents also reported high satisfaction with the program. The study provides evidence for the efficacy of a school-based universal program designed to prevent depression in adolescence.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Child
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • School Health Services / standards
  • Severity of Illness Index