Effectiveness of a brief school-based intervention on depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, and delinquency: A cluster randomized controlled trial.


Problematic substance use and mental health problems often co-occur in adolescents. Effective school-based interventions that are brief and target multiple problems are promising in the field of health promotion. Preventure is a brief, school-based, selective preventive intervention, tailored to four personality profiles. Preventure has already proved effective on alcohol outcomes. Previous trials also reveal effects on several mental health outcomes, yet the evidence for these outcomes is limited. This study presents the results of the Dutch Preventure Trial, on a range of mental health outcomes. In a cluster RCT, including 699 high risk students (mean age 14 years), the intervention effects on mental health problems at 2, 6, and 12 months post intervention were tested in the total high risk population and in four specific personality groups. No significant intervention effects were found on 22 from the 24 tests. A positive intervention effect on anxiety was found in the anxiety sensitivity personality group at 12-month follow-up, and a negative intervention effect on depression was found at 12-month follow-up in the negative thinking group. In post hoc growth curve analyses these effects were not found. This study found no convincing evidence for the effectiveness of Preventure in The Netherlands on mental health problems. This finding is not in line with the results of an earlier effectiveness study in the UK. This highlights the need for more research into the knowledge transfer model of interventions, to ensure that interventions are effective in a variety of circumstances.