Developing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Prevent Depressive Relapse in Youth

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12 Scopus citations


Relapse rates for children and adolescents with major depressive disorder (MDD) range from 30% to 40% within 1 to 2 years after acute treatment. Although relapse rates are high, there have been relatively few studies on the prevention of relapse in youth. While acute phase pharmacotherapy has been shown to reduce symptoms rapidly in depressed youth, children and adolescents frequently report ongoing residual symptoms and often relapse following acute treatment. Recent adult trials have begun examining augmentation with psychosocial treatment after successful medication treatment to enhance medication response and prevent future relapse. This strategy has not yet been examined in youth with depression. Here we present initial efforts to develop a sequential, combination treatment strategy to promote rapid remission and to prevent relapse in depressed youth. We describe efforts to adapt CBT to prevent relapse (RP-CBT) in youth who respond to pharmacotherapy. The goals of RP-CBT include: preventing relapse, increasing wellness, and developing skills to promote and sustain well-being. We describe the rationale for, components of, and methods used to develop RP-CBT. The results from a small open series sample demonstrate feasibility and indicate that youth appear to tolerate RP-CBT well. A future test of the treatment in a randomized controlled trial is described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-399
Number of pages13
JournalCognitive and Behavioral Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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