Importance: Although 13-20% of American adolescents experience a depressive episode annually, no scalable primary care model for adolescent depression prevention is currently available. Objective: To study whether CATCH-IT (Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive Behavioral Humanistic and Interpersonal Training) reduces the hazard for depression in at-risk adolescents identified in primary care, as compared to a general health education attention control (HE). Design: The Promoting AdolescenT Health (PATH) study compares CATCH-IT and HE in a phase 3 single-blind multicenter randomized attention control trial. Participants were enrolled from 2012 to 2016 and assessed at 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months post-randomization. Setting: Primary care. Participants: Eligible adolescents were 13-18 years with subsyndromal depression and/or history of depression and no current depression diagnosis or treatment. Of 2,250 adolescents screened for eligibility, 446 participants completed the baseline interview and 369 were randomized into CATCH-IT (n=193) and HE (n=176). Interventions: CATCH-IT is a 20-module (15 adolescent modules, 5 parent modules) online psychoeducation course that includes a parent program, supported by three motivational interviews. Main Outcomes and Measures: Time-to-event for depressive episode; depressive symptoms at 6 months. Results: Mean age was 15.4 years, and 68% were female; 28% had both a past episode and subsyndromal depression; 12% had a past episode only, 59% had subsyndromal depression only, and 1% had borderline subsyndromal depression. The outcome of time-to-event favored CATCH-IT but was not significant with intention-to-treat analyses (N=369; unadjusted HR=0.59; 95% CI 0.27, 1.29; p=0.18; adjusted HR=0.53; 95% CI 0.23, 1.23, p=0.14). Adolescents with higher baseline CES-D10 scores showed a significantly stronger effect of CATCH-IT on time-to-event relative to those with lower baseline scores (p=0.04). For example, for a CES-D10 score of 15 (significant sub-syndromal depression), HR=0.20 (95% CI 0.05, 0.77), compared to CES-D10 of 5 (no sub-syndromal depression), HR=1.44 (95% CI, 0.41, 5.03). In both CATCH-IT and HE groups, depression symptoms declined and functional scores increased. Conclusions and Relevance: CATCH-IT may be better than HE for preventing depressive episodes for at-risk adolescents with sub-syndromal depression. CATCH-IT may be a scalable approach to prevent depressive episodes in adolescents in primary care.
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