Objective: To evaluate the safety and feasibility of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression in physically ill adolescents.
Method: In an open trial, 11 adolescents (12-17 years) with inflammatory bowel disease and either major or minor depression underwent 12 sessions of a manual-based CBT enhanced by social skills, physical illness narrative, and family psychoeducation components. Standardized instruments assessed pre- to posttreatment changes in depression, physical health, global psychological functioning, and social functioning. Perceived helpfulness and satisfaction with CBT were assessed.
Results: There were significant reductions in DSM-IV depression diagnoses and depressive symptoms and improvements in global psychological and social functioning. Adolescents' perceptions of their general health and physical functioning improved, although illness severity measures were unchanged. High subject satisfaction and helpfulness ratings for CBT were found along with no adverse events and high subject adherence.
Conclusions: A manual-based CBT approach adapted to treat depression in physically ill adolescents appears to be a safe, feasible, and promising intervention.