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Primary Prevention of Depression in Offspring of Depressed Parents

Depression is one of the most common psychiatric illnesses worldwide, but is nevertheless preventable. Since the children of parents who have depression are at greatest risk of developing depression themselves, prevention programmes for this population are a major public health priority.

The PRODO study is a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a family- and group-based CBT prevention program for offspring of parents with depression. We translated and adapted the prevention program Raising Healthy Children (Compas et al., 2009) to the German language and culture. We include children and adolescents (aged 8-17) who have no history of psychiatric disorder and their parents. After the baseline assessment, families are randomised to either the prevention intervention or  usual care control condition.  The intervention consists of 8 weekly and 4 monthly sessions in groups of 3-4 families based on three modules: Psychoeducation about parental depression, Coping Strategies for children and Parenting training. Follow-up assessments take place at post-intervention, 9- and 15- months after baseline. Assessments include semi-strcutured clinical interviews with parents and child and questionnaires assessing psychopathology, knowledge of depression, cognitive and emotional factors as well as parenting style. Our hypothesis is that in comparison to the control group who receive no intervention, participants in the experimental group will show a reduced risk of depression as indexed by fewer cases of a depressive episode at 15 months follow-up and fewer psychopathological symptoms at 9- and 15-month follow-up. We have just finished recruitment for the study and are preparing data analysis.