Prevention of Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents: Do Sociotropy and Achievement Orientation Moderate the Effects?
Mehl, Jessica Katherine
The purpose of the present study was to examine the efficacy of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for preventing depressive symptoms in adolescents in comparison to a nonspecific, attention control group and a no intervention/assessment only control. Participants were 217 students attending a local public school [Mean age = 14.43 (SD = .70)]; 64.1% of the sample was female. The personality orientations of sociotropy (neediness, connectedness) and achievement (self-criticism, individualistic achievement) were assessed at baseline to examine whether these individual characteristics moderated the relation between the interventions and changes in depressive symptoms measured with the CES-D and CDI. Results indicated that, controlling for baseline depressive symptoms, self-criticism and individualistic achievement each significantly moderated the intervention effect, and there was a nonsignificant trend for neediness to be a moderator as well. Whereas the relation between self-criticism and changes in depressive symptoms was strong and significant for those in the control group, this association was less apparent in the CB group. In addition, high levels of individualistic achievement were associated with lower levels of depression, particularly in the CB condition. There was no evidence that the nonspecific control condition affected participants’ depression scores. These results highlight the importance of identifying individual characteristics that can alter adolescents’ response to cognitive-behavioral interventions for preventing depressive symptoms. Moreover, the CB program appears to provide benefits over and above exposure to a supportive environment.