Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling

Articles

The Prevention of Depression in 8- to 9-Year-Old Children: A Pilot Study

Rosanna Rooneya1 c1, Clare Robertsa2, Robert Kanea3, Lisbeth Pikea4, Amber Winsora5, Julia Whitea6 and Annette Browna7

a1 Curtin University of Technology, Australia. r.rooney@curtin.edu.au

a2 Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

a3 Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

a4 Edith Cowan University, Australia.

a5 Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

a6 Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

a7 Curtin University of Technology, Australia.

Abstract

The outcomes of a new universal program aimed at preventing depressive symptoms and disorders in 8- to 9-year-old children are presented. The Positive Thinking Program is a mental health promotion program based on cognitive and behavioural strategies. It is designed to meet the developmental needs of children in the middle primary school Years 4 and 5. Four state primary schools were randomly assigned to receive the program implemented by psychologists or to a control condition involving their regular Health Education curriculum. Seventy-two children participated in the intervention condition and 48 children in the control condition. Children completed measures of depressive and anxiety symptomatology, depressive disorders, and attribution style. The intervention was associated with reductions in depressive symptoms and more positive attributions at post-intervention. Compared to the control group, there was a lower prevalence of depressive disorders at posttest and fewer intervention group children developed a depressive disorder at a 9-month follow-up.

Correspondence

c1 Address for Correspondence: Dr R. Rooney, School of Psychology, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845, Australia.