The psychological treatment of childhood and adolescent depression: evidence or promise?
Xavier Méndez, Ana I. Rosa, Marisa Montoya, José Pedro Espada, José Olivares, and Julio Sánchez-Meca
The results of a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of psychological treatment for childhood and adolescent depression are presented. Fifteen controlled trials carried out between 1980 and 2002, which fulfilled the selection criteria, were found and led to 24 independent studies. Eight hundred and sixty three participants, between the ages of 7 and 19 years, and predominantly female adolescents, were recruited. The most widely used treatment was cognitive-behavioral therapy (80%), the only one applied for childhood depression, whereas interpersonal therapy and systemic family therapy were also used for adolescent depression. On the whole, the effectiveness of the psychological treatment reached a moderate level (d+= 0.53). The response to treatment was similar both in childhood and adolescent depression, but the school samples showed more improvement. It was observed that therapeutic improvement was maintained and an effect size of .50 was obtained in an average seven-month follow-up. The treatment also produced a slight improvement in self-esteem (d+= 0.37). The implications of these findings are discussed.
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