Psychoeducational interventions in adolescent depression: A systematic review

Rhys Bevan Jones*, Anita Thapar, Zoe Stone, Ajay Thapar, Ian Jones, Daniel Smith, Sharon Simpson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Adolescent depression is common and leads to distress and impairment for individuals/families. Treatment/prevention guidelines stress the need for good information and evidence-based psychosocial interventions. There has been growing interest in psychoeducational interventions (PIs), which broadly deliver accurate information about health issues and self-management. Objective, methods: Systematic search of targeted PIs as part of prevention/management approaches for adolescent depression. Searches were undertaken independently in PubMed, PsycINFO, EMBASE, guidelines, reviews (including Cochrane), and reference lists. Key authors were contacted. No restrictions regarding publishing dates. Results: Fifteen studies were included: seven targeted adolescents with depression/depressive symptoms, eight targeted adolescents ‘at risk’ e.g. with a family history of depression. Most involved family/group programmes; others included individual, school-based and online approaches. PIs may affect understanding of depression, identification of symptoms, communication, engagement, and mental health outcomes. Conclusion, practice implications: PIs can have a role in preventing/managing adolescent depression, as a first-line or adjunctive approach. The limited number of studies, heterogeneity in formats and evaluation, and inconsistent approach to defining PI, make it difficult to compare programmes and measure overall effectiveness. Further work needs to establish an agreed definition of PI, develop/evaluate PIs in line with frameworks for complex interventions, and analyse their active components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-816
Number of pages13
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • Adolescence
  • Depression
  • Prevention
  • Psychoeducation/education
  • Treatment


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