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Adolescent Coping with Depression

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A 16-session group depression treatment program teaching teens how to deal with depression and ways to manage depression.

Program Outcomes

  • Depression

Program Type

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training

Program Setting

  • Mental Health/Treatment Center

Continuum of Intervention

  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)
  • Indicated Prevention (Early Symptoms of Problem)


  • Early Adolescence (12-14) - Middle School
  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Promising

Program Information Contact

Paul Rohde, Ph.D.
Oregon Research Institute
1715 Franklin Blvd.
Eugene, OR 97403
Phone: (541) 484-2123
Fax: (541) 484-1108

Program Developer/Owner

  • Paul Rohde, Ph.D.
  • Oregon Research Institute

Brief Description of the Program

Adolescent Coping with Depression (CWD-A) is a therapeutic group intervention designed to reduce or prevent major depression or dysthymia (chronic depression) among adolescents, including those whose depression co-occurs with conduct disorder. Based on cognitive-behavioral therapy, the program teaches teens the skills to monitor moods, increase pleasant activities, improve communication, and resolve conflict. Adolescent groups meet with therapists over an eight-week period in 16 two-hour sessions. Groups consist of 7-14 adolescents and are conducted by a trained interventionist that has at least a master's degree in a mental health field.

See: Full Description


  • Adolescent Coping with Depression appears to be effective for real-world populations such as depressed adolescents with and without conduct disorders, and it reduces depression primarily by reducing the occurrence of negative thoughts. However, it does not improve conduct disorders.
  • The group-based treatment primarily benefited adolescents of White ethnicity, with recurrent major depressive disorder, and with good coping skills.
  • The treatment provided no benefits beyond the comparison group at the 6-month follow-up assessment. Despite the lack of sustained benefits, the short-term gain from a faster recovery from depression helps vulnerable teens.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

The studies, which use largely white samples, target all race and ethnic differences in program outcomes. However, one study finds that the group-based therapy works better for white youth than others.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Family: Parent history of mental health difficulties
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Coping Skills*, Problem solving skills, Skills for social interaction

*Risk/Protective Factor was significantly impacted by the program.

Training and Technical Assistance

Onsite 1- or 2-day training programs for groups of therapists (typically about $2,000/day) conducted by either Paul Rohde, Ph.D., or his colleague, Jenel Jorgensen, M.A., can be organized by contacting Dr. Rohde. Individual therapists or small groups of therapists could be trained by coming to Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR, and meeting with Dr. Rohde and/or Ms. Jorgensen for 1- or 2-day trainings. Training consists of reading key outcome papers and the treatment manual, discussion treatment rationale, modeling and role play of all key intervention components, discussion of process issues, and review of crisis response plans.

The therapist manual contains several chapters that should be read prior to providing the intervention. In addition a training DVD (“Mastering the Coping Course”) is available at cost at

Brief Evaluation Methodology

In a series of randomized control studies, Adolescent Coping with Depression was evaluated with three groups of teens: 1) adolescent recruits with major depression or dysthymia; 2) adolescents with a depressed parent and high risk for depression; and 3) adolescents with depression and conduct disorder who were referred by youth services. The depressed adolescents were assigned to an intervention therapy condition for adolescents only, an intervention therapy condition for adolescents and parents, and a waitlist control group. Adolescents in the intervention groups were also randomly assigned to conditions that differed on follow-up access to booster sessions and the number of follow-up assessments. The adolescents with depression and conduct disorder were assigned to an intervention therapy condition and a life-skills training control condition, but the intervention included an additional therapist and point system for attendance. The evaluations generally obtained preintervention measures, postintervention measures, and follow-up measures for up to 24-months.


Clarke, G. N., Hornbrook, M., Lynch, F., Polen, M., Gale, J., Beardslee, W., ... Seeley, J. (2001). A randomized trial of a group cognitive intervention for preventing depression in adolescent offspring of depressed parents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58, 1127-1134.

Clarke, G. N., Rohde, P., Lewinsohn, P. M., Hops, H., & Seeley, J. R. (1999). Cognitive-behavioral treatment of adolescent depression: Efficacy of acute group treatment and booster sessions. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 272-279.

Kaufman, N. K., Rohde, P., Seeley, J. R., Clarke, G. N., & Stice, E. (2005). Potential mediators of cognitive-behavioral therapy for adolescents with comorbid depression and conduct disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73, 38-46.

Lewinsohn, P. M., Clarke, G. N., Hops, H., & Andrews, J. (1990). Cognitive-behavioral treatment for depressed adolescents. Behavior Therapy, 21, 385-401.

Rohde, P., Clarke, P. N., Mace, D. E., Jorgensen, J. S., & Seeley, J. R. (2004). An efficacy/effectiveness study of cognitive-behavioral treatment for adolescents with comorbid major depression and conduct disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 43, 660-668.

Rohde, P., Seeley, J. R., Kaufman, N. K., Clarke, G. N., & Stice, E. (2006). Predicting time to recovery among depressed adolescents treated in two psychosocial group interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 80-88.