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Keywords:

  • Universal prevention;
  • depression;
  • children;
  • school

Background

The present study evaluates the long-term effects of a universal prevention approach for depression in children. It looks into the 2- and 3-year follow-ups of previously reported postintervention and 1-year outcomes.

Method

One hundred and eighty-nine 3rd grade (8–9 years old) children participated in a five-session, school-based, universal prevention program designed to encourage social skills and peer support. The study was conducted from 2006 to 2009 in two public schools in Miyazaki, the south main island of Japan.

Results

Depressive symptoms decreased significantly from the pre to the postintervention periods, and this effect was maintained. Furthermore, children in the prevention group showed significantly lower depression than the normative sample.

Conclusions

This study reveals the beneficial long-term effects of a universal approach.