Influence of general self-efficacy on the effects of a school-based universal primary prevention program of depressive symptoms in adolescents: a randomized and controlled follow-up study

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Sep;46(9):982-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00395.x.


Background: Depressive disorders in adolescents are a widespread and increasing problem. Prevention seems a promising and feasible approach.

Methods: We designed a cognitive-behavioral school-based universal primary prevention program and followed 347 eighth-grade students participating in a randomized controlled trial for three months.

Results: In line with our hypothesis, participants in the prevention program remained on a low level of depressive symptoms, having strong social networks. The control group showed increasing depressive symptoms and a reduced social network. Contrary to our expectations, students low in self-efficacy benefited more from the program than high self-efficient students. Social network did not mediate the relationship between participation in the prevention program and changes in depressive symptoms.

Conclusions: Our results show that the prevention program had favorable effects. Further research is needed to explore the impact of self-efficacy on the effects of prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Primary Prevention*
  • School Health Services*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Support