School-based intervention to improve the mental health of low-income, secondary school students in Santiago, Chile (YPSA): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

R Araya, A A Montgomery, R Fritsch, D Gunnell, P Stallard, S Noble, V Martinez, S Barroilhet, P Vohringer, V Guajardo, F Cova, J Gaete, A Gomez, G Rojas

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Background: Depression is common and can have devastating effects on the life of adolescents. Psychological interventions are the first-line for treating or preventing depression among adolescents. This proposal aims to evaluate a school-based, universal psychological intervention to reduce depressive symptoms among student's aged 13-14 attending municipal state secondary schools in Santiago, Chile.

Study design: This is a cluster randomised controlled trial with schools as the main clusters. We compared this intervention with a control group in a study involving 22 schools, 66 classes and approximately 2,600 students. Students in the active schools attended 11 weekly and 3 booster sessions of an intervention based on cognitive-behavioural models. The control schools received their usual but enhanced counselling sessions currently included in their curriculum. Mean depression scores and indicators of levels of functioning were assessed at 3 and 12 months after the completion of the intervention in order to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. Direct and indirect costs were measured in both groups to assess the cost-effectiveness of this intervention.

Discussion: As far as we are aware this is the first cluster randomised controlled trial of a school intervention for depression among adolescents outside the Western world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2011


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