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A proposed treatment approach to depression in adolescence: Involving the family in cognitive-behavioral therapy

28 July 1992


Increased interest in adolescent depression over the past two decades has given rise to a large body of literature. This paper will review some of the literature, examining the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of depression in adolescents. Prevalence rates of adolescent depression are reported and followed by a discussion of the uniqueness of depression in adolescence, as compared with the phenomena in adults, in support of the need for unique treatment approaches. The role of negative cognitive attributes in the etiology of depression is discussed in relation to the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral techniques for this population. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy are compared. In addition, the role of the family in maintaining or creating the negative cognitive attributes that lead to adolescent depression is examined. A recommendation is made for cognitive-behavioral therapy with family involvement as a potentially valuable approach to treatment of depression within this unique population and a proposed model for how this might occur is outlined.


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