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09-02-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 6/2016

Preliminary Outcomes of a Multi-site, School-based Modular Intervention for Adolescents Experiencing Mood Difficulties

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 6/2016
Auteurs:
Kurt D. Michael, Melissa W. George, Joni W. Splett, John Paul Jameson, Rafaella Sale, Abby A. Bode, Aidyn L. Iachini, Leslie K. Taylor, Mark D. Weist

Abstract

Many evidence-based programs to address the emotional needs of youth experiencing mood difficulties are based on implementing “manualized” interventions. This approach often presents feasibility challenges in the school setting. In contrast, modular strategies, which involve implementing the most effective practices for specific emotional/behavioral problems, may be more feasible. Research, however, on the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of modular approaches in schools to address youth experiencing mood difficulties is lacking. The multi-site current study tested the effectiveness, feasibility, and acceptability of a modular intervention approach delivered in schools for youth presenting with mood disorder symptoms. The pilot study included 20 participants (ages 12–16) and parents/caregivers for each student. Data were collected at baseline, throughout treatment, and following intervention or end of school year. The intervention, called the Student Emotional and Educational Development (SEED) project, included a modularized manual of efficacious and common practice elements for the treatment of mood disorders among adolescents. Decision making protocols guided provision of specific modules based on baseline and treatment data. Statistically significant differences were found between pretest and posttest assessments with modest to large effect sizes for youth and/or parents’ report of mood-related symptoms, including reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and inattention. Clinically significant findings were also detected with more than 50 % of participants demonstrating reliable improvement on a global assessment of mental health symptoms. With regards to feasibility, these results were achieved with an average of nine, 45-min sessions across 2–3 months, and a subsample of participants overwhelmingly supported the acceptability of SEED. Although limited by the lack of a controlled comparison and small sample size, findings from this pilot study suggest this modular intervention focused on internalizing symptoms in students can be feasibly implemented in the school setting, is acceptable to students, and holds promise for improving their psychosocial functioning.

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