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Problem-Solving Intervention Aids Depressive Episodes

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Jun 14; Silverstein, et al

A problem-solving education (PSE) intervention is efficacious in preventing depressive symptom episodes and performs optimally among low-income minority mothers with initial low-level symptoms, a recent study found. A randomized clinical trial was performed at 6 Head Start agencies serving families at or below the federal poverty level. Participants included mothers with depressed mood, anhedonia, or depression history but who were not in a current major depressive episode. Participants were followed up for 12 months with masked outcome assessments; all were randomized to a PSE intervention (n=111) or usual Head Start services (n=119). Among total participants, 152 (66.1%) were Hispanic, with a mean age of 31.4 (7.3) years. Researchers found:

  • An intention-to-treat analysis among 223 participants contributing follow-up data found no differences in problem-solving skills across groups.
  • The mean number of depressive symptom elevations among the PSE participants was 0.84 compared with 1.12 among the usual service participants.


Silverstein M, Diaz-Linhart Y, Cabral H, et al. Efficacy of a maternal depression prevention strategy in Head Start. A randomized clinical trial. [Published online ahead of print June 14, 2017]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.1001.