During a 33-month follow-up period, the kids who received the therapy had significantly fewer depressive episodes than those who were referred for usual psychiatric care.
"We wanted to see if this intervention could be delivered systematically and reliably in four different sites in the U.S., and the answer is yes," Beardslee said. "It's a step on the way to eventually disseminating the intervention widely."
There was one drawback. Kids who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy at the same time their parents were suffering depression received no benefit.
"This speaks to the fact that the parental depression must also be simultaneously addressed, and I imagine both individually but also in the family context through family therapy," Varma said. "This study says that [cognitive behavioral therapy] prevention is highly effective, but we need to look at the big picture. And this makes sense. Depression for young people does not exist in a bubble, and if we can support the family we can help the adolescent."
For more information on cognitive behavioral therapy, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.