Depression is a recurrent, debilitating and sometimes fatal disorder that may first effect children between the ages of 9 and 12. Preadolescent depression is an important public health concern because it is a "gateway" condition that increases the risk for recurrent depression into adolescence and adulthood, particularly when there is a strong family history of mood disorders. The preadolescent period presents a window of opportunity for early psychosocial intervention for depressive disorders and for decreasing risk factors associated with recurrence, namely difficulties in relationships with family members and friends. Addressing and treating depressive disorders in preadolescents has the potential to be extremely successful given the dramatic increase in rates of depression that occur in adolescence.
Family-Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Preadolescents is a psychosocial intervention that aims to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms among preadolescents and to provide them with skills to improve interpersonal relationships. Parents are systematically involved in all stages of the preteen's treatment to provide support and model positive communication and problem solving skills. The Initial Phase of treatment addresses psychoeducation about preadolescent depression, challenges in parenting a depressed preadolescent, and appropriate expectations for their child's behavior and performance at this time. The Middle Phase of treatment outlines ways for clinicians to present FB-IPT skills to both the preteen and parent. The Termination Phase focuses on consolidating skills, addressing prevention strategies, and identifying when to seek treatment for recurrent depression.
About the Authors:
Laura J. Dietz, Ph.D. is a clinical and developmental psychologist whose research focuses on the study of family risk factors for depression and the development of psychosocial interventions for mood disorders in youths. Dr. Dietz completed her graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, a predoctoral internship at Children's Memorial Hospital, Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, IL, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. For the past 10 years, Dr. Dietz has developed, manualized, and tested the efficacy and putative treatment mechanisms of Family Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy (FB-IPT) for Depressed Preadolescents. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and trains clinicians in Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Adolescents (IPT-A) and FB-IPT.
Rebecca J. Weinberg, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist at the Women's Behavioral Health program of the Allegheny Health Network, specializing in the treatment of women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Weinberg completed her graduate studies at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University and a predoctoral internship at Allegheny General Hospital. Dr. Weinberg completed her postdoctoral training at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and participated in the development of Family Based Interpersonal Therapy (FB-IPT) for Depressed Preadolescents, assisted in writing the treatment manual and provided this psychotherapy to preadolescents and their families.
Laura Mufson, Ph.D. is a Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Co-Director of the Office of Clinical Psychology at CUMC, and Director of the Department of Clinical Psychology at New York State Psychiatric Institute. In addition, she is Director of Clinical Child Psychology in Child Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Mufson developed the adolescent adaptation of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression (IPT-A) and has published extensively on interpersonal psychotherapy and its adaptations for treating youth in diverse settings. Through her own work as well as mentoring of and collaboration with other researchers, she has contributed significantly to the evidence base for IPT for youth. Her areas of expertise include the evaluation of empirically supported intervention outcomes in clinical trials conducted in research and community settings, and the transportability and implementation of treatments in the community. Dr. Mufson conducts training workshops on IPT-A throughout the United States and internationally.