Hot Publication - Dietz et al.

Family-Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depressed Preadolescents:
Examining Efficacy and Potential Treatment Mechanisms
Dietz LJ, Weinberg RJ, Brent DA, MD and Mufson L
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Published Online

A recent study by Dr. Laura Dietz, pictured here with co-author Dr. Rebecca Weinberg, and their colleagues finds that Family Based Interpersonal Psychotherapy is more effective in treating preadolescent children with depression compared to child-centered therapy.

Dr. Dietz and her team evaluated the preliminary efficacy of family-based interpersonal psychotherapy for treating depression in children ages 7-12 as compared to child-centered therapy. Study participants with depression were randomly assigned to the two interventions. Pre- and post-treatment assessments included clinician-administered measures of depression, parent- and child-reported depression and anxiety symptoms, and parent-child conflict and interpersonal impairment with peers.

The investigators found that preadolescents receiving family-based interpersonal psychotherapy had higher rates of remission, a greater decrease in depressive symptoms from pre- to post-treatment, and lower depressive symptoms at post-treatment than did preadolescents with depression receiving child-centered therapy. They also found that preadolescents receiving family-based interpersonal psychotherapy reported significant reductions in anxiety and interpersonal impairment than did preadolescents in child-centered therapy. Changes in social and peer impairment from pre- to post-treatment were associated with preadolescents? post-treatment depressive symptoms. There was also a significant indirect effect for decreased social impairment accounting for the association between the family-based interpersonal psychotherapy and preadolescents? post-treatment depressive symptoms. Study findings indicate family-based interpersonal psychotherapy is an effective treatment for preadolescent depression and support further investigation of interpersonal mechanisms by which this intervention may reduce preadolescent depression.


Laura J. Dietz, PhD, Rebecca J. Weinberg, PsyD and David A. Brent, MD (Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh)

Laura Mufson, PhD (Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University)

This article is published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. To view the abstract, click here.