COVID-19-Related Project Enhancement
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in mental health concerns in individuals of all ages. Adolescents’ mental health is especially affected due to social isolation, uncertainty regarding school and the potential start of college, fears of loved ones becoming ill, etc. These factors are associated with increases in depression and anxiety during the pandemic. Interventions to address adolescents’ mental health during and after this stressful time are needed.
This project enhancement will compare two interventions aimed to prevent the onset on depression in adolescents who have elevated levels of depressive symptoms. Adolescents will be recruited from the general public using a public health campaign model.
Enhancement Award Amount: $500,000
This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
Depression is a health problem that causes people to feel sad, hopeless, or empty. Each year, 20 percent of teens are diagnosed with depression. Without treatment, depression often affects teens’ relationships with friends and family; makes it hard to do well in school; and may cause teens to try drugs, cutting, or suicide. But only 25 percent of teens diagnosed with depression get treatment, often because of the stigma of depression.
In this study, the research team is comparing two depression prevention programs for teens:
- Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive Humanistic and Interpersonal Training, or CATCH-IT, a self-guided online program
- Teens Achieving Mastery Over Stress, or TEAMS, a face-to-face group program with other teens
CATCH-IT and TEAMS are both based on a depression prevention program called Coping with Depression-Adolescent. The research team wants to compare how well these programs help teens deal with stress and negative moods and cope with tough situations.
Who can this research help?
Primary care clinicians, mental health professionals, and school-based counselors can use these findings when considering ways to treat teens with depressive symptoms.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling more than 564 teens ages 13–18 who are receiving care in urban and suburban Chicago and western Illinois, and Louisville, Kentucky. These areas include inner-city, suburban, and rural communities of African-American, Latino, Arab, and white teens as well as teens who identify as LGBTQ. During primary care visits or school screenings, the team is asking teens to fill out a survey about their depression symptoms. The team is inviting teens who have symptoms of depression to join the study. After the teen and parent or guardian consent to take part in the study, they are assigned to either CATCH-IT or TEAMS, depending on the program offered at their primary care clinic or school.
Over the course of 18 months, the research team is looking at changes in the teens’ symptoms of depression and other mental health conditions. They are also asking teens about stress, relationships, and social interactions.
Teens, parents, clinicians, and community groups are helping to plan and carry out the study.
Research methods at a glance
Comics That Helped Prevent Teen Depression Before Pandemic Now Targeting Increased Risks Because of COVID-19
Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, August 27, 2020
Find out more about the "Path 2 Purpose" public health campaign, which seeks to provide teens experiencing anxiety and depression with healthcare strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Comics Aren’t Just for Fun — They Can Help Prevent Teen Depression Too
Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, February 27, 2020
Read more about the Catch-It curriculum, developed through this study to equip teens with a range of coping mechanisms to manage relationships and build confidence if they're experiencing anxiety and depression.
Path 2 Purpose: Primary Care and Community-Based Prevention of Mental Disorders in Adolescents
University of Illinois College of Medicine
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