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Computerized CBT for Adolescent Depression (“Stressbusters”) and its Initial Evaluation Through an Extended Case Series

  • Paul Abeles (a1), Chrissie Verduyn (a1), Alexander Robinson (a2), Patrick Smith (a2), William Yule (a2) and Judy Proudfoot (a3)...

Background: “Stressbusters” is an interactive computer software programme based on a clinically effective face-to-face CBT protocol for young people with depression. It was designed for teenagers with mild to moderate depression, and comprises eight 45-minute sessions. Method: Twenty-three young people (aged 12–16; mean age 14.87 years) with symptoms of depression were recruited from CAMHS teams in Manchester and London, and received the Stressbusters treatment (range 1 – 8 sessions, mode 8 sessions). Results: On the K-SADS at initial assessment, 95% met diagnostic criteria for a depressive disorder, with a high group mean score of 35.48 (SD 9.84) on the MFQ. Post-treatment, 22% of young people met criteria for a depressive disorder, with the group mean score on the MFQ falling significantly below clinical cut-off to 20.32 (SD 11.75). These gains were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Significant improvements were also found in the adolescents' global functioning (CGAS), self-reported anxiety (RCMAS), depressive cognitions and attributions (ATQ and CTI-C), and in adolescent- and parent-reported emotional and behavioural difficulties (SDQ). Conclusions: Taken together, these results provide promising preliminary data for the clinical efficacy of Stressbusters as a valid form of CCBT for adolescents with depression.

Corresponding author
Reprint requests to Paul Abeles, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Department of Clinical Psychology, Booth Hall Children's Hospital, Charlestown Road, Manchester M9 7AA, UK. E-mail:
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Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy
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