One major predictor of depression onset is having a depressed parent. This study provides the first systematic review and meta-analysis of preventive interventions for offspring of depressed parents.
We searched six literature databases and included randomized controlled trials which concerned the non-depressed offspring (aged 18 or younger) of a depressed parent, who received a preventive intervention designed to reduce the risk of depression or a comparison condition.
Primary and secondary outcome measures were the severity and incidence of childhood depression. 14 publications reporting data from seven trials (n =935 children) were included and were of relatively high quality.
The effect of the interventions (versus any control condition) on depressive and internalising symptoms at post-intervention follow-up (up to four months) was small but significant [g'=-0.20, 95% CI (-0.34; -0.06), p =0.005; I <sup> 2 </sup> =0.00%]. The interventions also had a small but significant effect on depression incidence [Risk Ratio=0.56; 95% CI(0.41;0.77); d'=-0.42].
Intervention effects were not present in the short-term (up to 12months post-intervention) or long-term (15-72months post-intervention) follow-ups. Interventions targeting the offspring of depressed parents show promise not only in reducing symptoms of depression but also in preventing the onset of depression, at least immediately after the intervention.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors.
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