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Problem solving programme implemented by teachers may prevent depression in the short term, but longer term benefits are unclear

  • Shochet, Ian
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2003
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


This is a methodologically exemplary trial of a population based (universal) approach to preventing depression in young people. The programme used teachers in a classroom setting to deliver cognitive behavioural problem solving skills to a cohort of students. We have little knowledge about “best practice” to prevent depression in adolescence. Classroom-based universal approaches appear to offer advantages in recruitment rates and lack of stigmatisation over approaches that target specific groups of at risk students. Earlier research on a universal school-based approach to preventing depression in adolescents showed promise, but employed mental health professionals to teach cognitive behavioural coping skills in small groups.1 Using such an approach routinely would be economically unsustainable. Spence’s trial, with teachers as facilitators, therefore represents a “real world” intervention that could be routinely disseminated.

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