A randomized clinical trial comparing family-focused treatment and individual supportive therapy for depression in childhood and early adolescence
Tompson, Martha C.
Sugar, Catherine A.
Langer, David A.
Asarnow, Joan R.
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CitationMartha C. Tompson, Catherine A. Sugar, David A. Langer, Joan R. Asarnow. 2017. "A Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Family-Focused Treatment and Individual Supportive Therapy for Depression in Childhood and Early Adolescence.." J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp. 515 - 523.
OBJECTIVE: Despite the morbidity and negative outcomes associated with early-onset depression, few studies have examined the efficacy of psychosocial treatment for depressive disorders during childhood. Integrating family in treatment could have particularly salutary effects during this developmental period. This trial compared immediate posttreatment effects of family-focused treatment for childhood depression (FFT-CD) with those of individual supportive psychotherapy (IP) for children 7 to 14 years old with depressive disorders. METHOD: Children were randomized to 15 sessions of FFT-CD (n = 67) or IP (n = 67) over 4 months. The primary treatment outcome was adequate clinical depression response, defined as at least a 50% decrease in score on the Children's Depression Rating Scale-Revised (CDRS-R). Additional outcomes included patient-centered outcomes (parent- and child-reported treatment satisfaction), remission (defined as CDRS-R score ≤28), change in continuous CDRS-R score, and change in child and parent reports of depressive and non-depressive symptoms and social adjustment. RESULTS: Significant improvement was evident across groups for depressive and non-depressive symptoms, global response, and functioning and social adjustment. Compared with children randomized to IP, children randomized to FFT-CD showed higher rates of adequate clinical depression response (77.7% versus 59.9%; number needed to treat = 5.72; odds ratio 2.29; 95% CI 1.001-5.247; t = 1.97, p = .0498). Across treatments, families reported high satisfaction; compared with IP families, FFT-CD families reported greater knowledge and skills for managing depression. There were no significant differences between treatment arms on secondary outcomes. CONCLUSION: Results support the value of psychosocial intervention, emphasize the important role that families play, and highlight the potential for FFT-CD for supporting recovery in children with depression. Clinical trial registration information-Systems of Support Study for Childhood Depression; http://clinicaltrials.gov; NCT01159041.