Efficacy of Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training: an indicated preventive intervention for depression


  • Conflict of interest statement: Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Adolescents (2004) is published by Guilford Press. Dr. Mufson receives royalties from the sale of this book. There are no other conflicts of interest.

Jami Young, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 74, New York, NY 10032, USA; Tel: 212-543-5051; Fax: 212-543-6660; Email: youngj@childpsych.columbia.edu


Background:  Indicated interventions for adolescents with elevated depressive symptoms may help decrease rates of depression. The current study reports on the efficacy of Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST), a group indicated preventive intervention.

Methods:  Forty-one adolescents with elevated depression symptoms were randomized to receive either IPT-AST or school counseling (SC) as delivered by guidance counselors and social workers. Adolescents in the two intervention conditions were compared on depression symptoms, overall functioning, and depression diagnoses post-intervention and at 3-month and 6-month follow-up.

Results:  Adolescents who received IPT-AST had significantly fewer depression symptoms and better overall functioning post-intervention and at follow-up. Adolescents in IPT-AST also reported fewer depression diagnoses than adolescents in usual care.

Conclusions:  These results provide preliminary evidence of the efficacy of IPT-AST as an intervention for adolescents with subthreshold depression. Future research is needed to confirm the efficacy of IPT-AST in a larger and more diverse sample and to determine its long-term impact on depression symptoms and depression diagnoses.