Developmental Pathways of the Family Bereavement Program to Prevent Major Depression 15 Years Later

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Abstract

Objective: To examine the developmental pathways through which the Family Bereavement Program (FBP) reduces major depression and generalized anxiety disorder 15 years later. Method: A randomized trial of the FBP included 5 assessments, at pretest, posttest (98% retention), and follow-ups at 11 months (90% retention), 6 years (89% retention), and 15 years (80% retention) following the program. Participants included 244 children and adolescents (from 156 families) 8 to 16 years of age who were randomly assigned to the FBP (135 children/adolescents, 90 families), a 12-session program that included a caregiver component and a child/adolescent component or a literature comparison condition (109 children/adolescents, 66 families). In-home interviews assessed mediators directly targeted for change at post-test and 11 months (eg, parenting and coping); 6-year theoretical mediators (ie, internalizing problems, aversive views of the self) and 15-year children's/adolescents’ major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Data analysis tested 3 path mediation models in which FBP effects at post-test and 11 months led to effects on 6-year theoretical mediators, which in turn lad to reductions in major depression and generalized anxiety disorder at 15 years. Results: The FBP had a significant effect on reducing the prevalence of major depression (odds ratio = 0.332, p < .01) at 15 years. Significant 3-path mediation models found that multiple variables that were targeted by the caregiver and child components of the FBP at post-test and 11 months mediated FBP effects on depression at 15 years through their impact on aversive self-views and internalizing problems at 6 years. Conclusion: The findings support the 15-year impact of the Family Bereavement Program on major depression and for maintaining components of the FBP that affect aspects of parenting and children's coping, grief, and self-regulation as the program is disseminated. Clinical trial registration information: 6-Year Follow-up of a Prevention Program for Bereaved Families; https://clinicaltrials.gov/; NCT01008189. Diversity & Inclusion Statement: We worked to ensure race, ethnic, and/or other types of diversity in the recruitment of human participants. We actively worked to promote sex and gender balance in our author group. One or more of the authors of this paper self-identifies as a member of one or more historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science. We actively worked to promote inclusion of historically underrepresented racial and/or ethnic groups in science in our author group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1244
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume62
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • bereavement
  • children
  • depression
  • mediation
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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