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Impact of a secondary school depression prevention curriculum on adolescent social-emotional skills: evaluation of the resilient families program
journal contributionposted on 01.06.2019, 00:00 authored by Nikita Singh, Matin G Minaie, David SkvarcDavid Skvarc, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou
School-based mental health intervention programs have demonstrated efficacy for the prevention and reduction of depressive symptoms, though the effect tends to be variable and is often unsustained longitudinally. However, it is possible that these intervention programs may have an indirect impact on adolescent functioning via positive mediators, and that this influence may predict more durable protective benefits. This study evaluated the efficacy of the Resilient Families program for improving social-emotional skills and depressive symptoms for adolescents over a two-year period. Twenty-four secondary schools in Melbourne, Australia were randomly allocated to either Resilient Families or a control condition. 1826 students (M= 12.3, SD = .05 years at W1; 56% female) completed the curricula and subsequent surveys. Inconsistent with hypotheses, analysis with Structural Equation Modelling revealed that the program had no significant effect on social-emotional skills and these skills had no significant effects on adolescent depressive symptoms. However, family attendance at parent education events within the intervention schools was associated with longitudinal reductions in depressive symptoms. The findings highlight the importance of increasing emphasis on family and community protective factors in adolescent social-emotional development and depression prevention programs.