Dr. Luby has received grant funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and NARSAD. She also receives royalties from Guilford Press for a book on childhood mental disorders. Shannon N. Lenze and Jennifer Pautsch have no conflict of interest.
Parent–child interaction therapy emotion development: a novel treatment for depression in preschool children†
Article first published online: 13 DEC 2010
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Depression and Anxiety
Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 153–159, February 2011
How to Cite
Lenze, S. N., Pautsch, J. and Luby, J. (2011), Parent–child interaction therapy emotion development: a novel treatment for depression in preschool children. Depress. Anxiety, 28: 153–159. doi: 10.1002/da.20770
- Issue published online: 27 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 13 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 OCT 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 7 OCT 2010
- Manuscript Received: 12 AUG 2010
- National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, MD). Grant Numbers: R34-MH80163, T32DA007261
- depressive disorder/psychology;
- depressive disorder/therapy;
- mood disorders;
- mother-child relations;
- behavior therapy;
Background: Psychotherapies with known efficacy in adolescent depression have been adapted for prepubertal children; however, none have been empirically validated for use with depressed very young children. Due to the centrality of the parent–child relationship to the emotional well being of the young child, with caregiver support shown to mediate the risk for depression severity, we created an Emotional Development (ED) module to address emotion development impairments identified in preschool onset depression. The new module was integrated with an established intervention for preschool disruptive disorders, Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Preliminary findings of an open trial of this novel intervention, PCIT-ED, with depressed preschool children are reported. Methods: PCIT was adapted for the treatment of preschool depression by incorporating a novel emotional development module, focused on teaching the parent to facilitate the child's emotional development and enhance emotion regulation. Eight parent–child dyads with depressed preschoolers participated in 14 sessions of the treatment. Depression severity, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, functional impairment, and emotion recognition/discrimination were measured pre- and posttreatment. Results: Depression severity scores significantly decreased with a large effect size (1.28). Internalizing and externalizing symptoms as well as functional impairment were also significantly decreased pre- to posttreatment. Conclusions: PCIT-ED seems to be a promising treatment for preschoolers with depression, and the large effect sizes observed in this open trial suggest early intervention may provide a window of opportunity for more effective treatment. A randomized controlled trial of PCIT-ED in preschool depression is currently underway. Depression and Anxiety, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.