Background: This study examined whether reductions in depression symptoms at different time points over the course of therapy predict remission for depressed adolescents treated with interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT-A) or treatment as usual (TAU) delivered in school-based health clinics. Methods: Participants were 63 adolescents (ages 12-18) drawn from a randomized controlled clinical trial examining the effectiveness of IPT-A Mufson et al. [2004; Archives of General Psychiatry 61:577-584]. Adolescents were randomized to receive IPT-A or TAU delivered by school-based mental health clinicians. Assessments were completed at baseline and weeks 4, 8, 12, and 16 (or at early termination) and included the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD; Hamilton [1967; British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 6:278-2962]). Results: Receiver operating characteristic analysis was used to identify the time point and degree of reduction in HRSD that best predicted remission (HRSD <7) at the end of the trial (week 16). Week 4 was the best time point for classifying adolescents as likely to remit or not likely to remit for both IPT-A and TAU. A 16.2% reduction in HRSD from baseline represented the best combined sensitivity and specificity in predicting week 16 remission status for adolescents treated with IPT-A. A 24.4% reduction in depressive symptoms represented the best combined sensitivity and specificity in predicting remission status for TAU. Conclusions: These findings provide preliminary evidence of one early marker of remission with IPT-A. Replication with larger samples would suggest that depressed adolescents who have not demonstrated at least a 16.2% reduction in their depressive symptoms after 4 weeks of IPT-A may benefit from a change in the treatment plan.
- depressive disorder
- treatment outcome