A longitudinal evaluation of the Resilient Families randomized trial to prevent early adolescent depressive symptoms.


This study aimed to evaluate whether an intervention prevented the development of depressive symptoms through the early years of secondary school (Grades 7 to 9-mean ages 12.3 to 14.5 years) in Victoria, Australia. Twelve schools were randomized to a universal preventative intervention (including a student social relationship/emotional health curriculum, and parent/caregiver parenting education); 12 were randomized as control schools. Multivariate regression analyses used student self-report to predict depressive symptoms at 26-month follow-up (13-months after intervention completion) from baseline measures and intervention status (N = 2027). There was no overall intervention effect on depressive symptoms. However, intervention students with moderate symptoms whose parents attended parent education events had a significantly reduced risk of depressive symptoms at follow-up. Future evaluations of interventions of this type should investigate: therapeutic processes; methods to increase recruitment into effective parent education events; and the potential to target assistance to students with high depressive symptoms.