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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 5113-5132; doi:10.3390/ijerph110505113

Does the Absence of a Supportive Family Environment Influence the Outcome of a Universal Intervention for the Prevention of Depression?

1
Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
2
Research and Evaluation Unit, Women's and Children's Hospital, and Discipline of Paediatrics, University of Adelaide, North Terrace Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia
3
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Sir Fred Schonell Dr., St. Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
4
Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, University of Melbourne, 2 Gatehouse Street, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
5
Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science, 15-31 Pelham Street South Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
6
beyondblue, P.O. Box 6100, Hawthorn West, Melbourne, VIC 3122, Australia
7
International Centre for Allied Health Research, School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, City East Campus, Cnr of North Terrace and Frome Rd., Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2013 / Revised: 30 April 2014 / Accepted: 5 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adolescent Depression Prevention)
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Abstract

To date, universal, school-based interventions have produced limited success in the long-term prevention of depression in young people. This paper examines whether family relationship support moderates the outcomes of a universal, school-based preventive intervention for depression in adolescents. It reports a secondary analysis of data from the beyondblue schools research initiative. Twenty-five matched pairs of secondary schools were randomly assigned to an intervention or control condition (N = 5633 Grade 8 students). The multi-component, school-based intervention was implemented over a 3-year period, with 2 years of follow-up in Grades 11 and 12. For those available at follow-up, small but significantly greater reductions in depressive and anxiety symptoms and improvements in emotional wellbeing were found over time for the intervention group compared to the control among those who experienced low family relationship support in Grade 8. For those who did not experience low family relationship support in Grade 8, no significant effects of the invention were found over the control condition. This pattern of results was also found for the intent-to-treat sample for measures of depression and anxiety. Previous research may have overlooked important moderating variables that influence the outcome of universal approaches to the prevention of depression. The findings raise issues of the relative costs and benefits of universal versus targeted approaches to the prevention of depression.
Keywords: depression; anxiety; prevention; adolescents; school depression; anxiety; prevention; adolescents; school
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Spence, S.H.; Sawyer, M.G.; Sheffield, J.; Patton, G.; Bond, L.; Graetz, B.; Kay, D. Does the Absence of a Supportive Family Environment Influence the Outcome of a Universal Intervention for the Prevention of Depression? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 5113-5132.

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