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Brief Behavioural Activation (Brief BA) for Adolescent Depression: A Pilot Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 July 2017

Laura Pass*
Affiliation:
Charlie Waller Institute, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK
Carl W. Lejuez
Affiliation:
University of Kansas, Strong Hall, Room 200, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA
Shirley Reynolds
Affiliation:
Charlie Waller Institute, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK
*
Correspondence to Laura Pass, Charlie Waller Institute, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6AL, UK. E-mail: L.S.Pass@reading.ac.uk

Abstract

Background: Depression in adolescence is a common and serious mental health problem. In the UK, access to evidence-based psychological treatments is limited, and training and employing therapists to deliver these is expensive. Brief behavioural activation for the treatment of depression (BATD) has great potential for use with adolescents and to be delivered by a range of healthcare professionals, but there is limited empirical investigation with this group. Aims: To adapt BATD for depressed adolescents (Brief BA) and conduct a pilot study to assess feasibility, acceptability and clinical effectiveness. Method: Twenty depressed adolescents referred to the local NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health service (CAMHs) were offered eight sessions of Brief BA followed by a review around one month later. Self- and parent-reported routine outcome measures (ROMs) were collected at every session. Results: Nineteen of the 20 young people fully engaged with the treatment and all reported finding some aspect of Brief BA helpful. Thirteen (65%) required no further psychological intervention following Brief BA, and both young people and parents reported high levels of acceptability and satisfaction with the approach. The pre–post effect size of Brief BA treatment was large. Conclusions: Brief BA is a promising innovation in the treatment of adolescent depression. This approach requires further evaluation to establish effectiveness and cost effectiveness compared with existing evidence-based treatments for adolescent depression. Other questions concern the effectiveness of delivery in other settings and when delivered by a range of professionals.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2017 

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