Cluster randomized controlled trial of a psycho-educational intervention for people with a family history of depression for use in general practice
1 Psychosocial Research Group, Prince of Wales Clinical School, The University of New Sourth Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
2 Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia
3 School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
4 Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
6 Black Dog Institute, Sydney, NSW 2031, Australia
7 Centre for Emotional Health, Department of Psychology, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
8 Centre for Genetics Education, NSW Health, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, NSW 2065, Australia
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:325 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-325Published: 1 December 2013
The strongest risk factor for depression is having a family history of the condition. Many individuals with a family history of depression are concerned about their personal risk for depression and report unmet educational and psychological support needs. No supportive and/or educational interventions are currently available that target this group of individuals. In this study we will develop and evaluate the first online psycho-educational intervention targeted to individuals with a family history of depression. Genetic risk information and evidence-rated information on preventive strategies for depression will be provided to such individuals in a general practice setting. The intervention will also incorporate a risk assessment tool. The content and delivery of the intervention will be pilot-tested.
The proposed intervention will be evaluated in the general practitioner (GPs) setting, using a cluster randomized controlled trial. GP practices will be randomized to provide either access to the online, targeted psycho-educational intervention or brief generic information about depression (control) to eligible patients. Eligibility criteria include having at least one first-degree relative with either major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder (BD). The primary outcome measure is 'intention to adopt, or actual adoption of, risk-reducing strategies’. Secondary outcome measures include: depression symptoms, perceived stigma of depression, knowledge of risk factors for development of depression and risk-reducing strategies, and perceived risk of developing depression or having a recurrence of family history. Over the course of the study, participants will complete online questionnaires at three time points: at baseline, and two weeks and six months after receiving the intervention or control condition.
This novel psycho-educational intervention will provide individuals with a family history of depression with information on evidence-based strategies for the prevention of depression, thus, we hypothesize, enabling them to make appropriate lifestyle choices and implement behaviors designed to reduce their risk for depression. The online psycho-educational intervention will also provide a model for similar interventions aimed at individuals at increased familial risk for other psychiatric disorders.
The study is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Group (Registration no: ACTRN12613000402741).