Parent-child interactive intervention cuts depression

(HealthDay)—An intervention targeting depression in very young children can be effective in community settings, according to a study published online June 20 in The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Joan L. Luby, M.D., from Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of psychotherapy (parent-child interaction therapy with a novel “emotion development” module [PCIT-ED]) for early childhood depression that focuses on enhancing the child’s emotional competence and emotion regulation. The intervention was compared to a waiting-list group in 229 parent-child dyads (children aged 3 to 6.11 years).

The researchers found that children in the PCIT-ED group had lower rates of depression (primary outcome), lower depression severity, and lower impairment versus those in the waiting-list condition (Cohen’s d values, >1.0). Additionally, there were significant improvements in measures of child emotional functioning and parenting stress and depression in the PCIT-ED group.

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