Online Single-Session Interventions Benefit Teens With Depression

During a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus, the unrecognizable mature adult female counselor uses online therapy to meet with her young adult female client.
Online single-session interventions (SSIs) appear to offer some benefit for adolescents with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HealthDay News — Online single-session interventions (SSIs) appear to offer some benefit for adolescents with depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Nature Human Behaviour.

Jessica L. Schleider, Ph.D., from Stony Brook University in New York, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to test online SSIs during COVID-19 among 2,452 adolescents (ages 13 to 16 years) with elevated depression symptoms. Adolescents were randomly assigned to a behavioral activation SSI, an SSI teaching that traits are malleable, or a supportive control. The effects of each SSI were examined on postintervention outcomes and three-month outcomes.

The researchers found that both active SSIs reduced three-month depressive symptoms compared with the control, and they reduced postintervention and three-month hopelessness, increased postintervention agency, and decreased restrictive eating at three months. There were several differences observed between the active SSIs.

“On average, the effects on depression were moderate; in some teens, the SSIs helped reduce their symptoms a lot, for others only a small amount,” Schleider said in a statement. “But on a public health scale, since the programs are so easily accessible, and free, this type of intervention could help reduce the overall burden of depression in this vulnerable population of youth.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the publishing industry.

Abstract/Full Text