Alliance and Suicide Prevention Lab

Graduate Students

Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

The Acceptability of Treatments for Adolescent Depression to a Multi-ethnic Sample of Girls

By Nicole Caporino, Ph.D.

A Masters Thesis Defended 2008

Project Overview

An efficacious treatment is diminished in value if clients will not seek it out and adhere to it (Kazdin, 1978). Thus, the acceptability of a treatment to consumers is an important indicator of the quality/effectiveness of the treatment (APA, 2002). The purpose of this study was to examine acceptability of treatments for depression to adolescent females and to explore factors that might be associated with acceptability. Sixty-seven high school students (36 Hispanic and 31 non-Hispanic White) were recruited from communities in New Jersey and Florida, and interviewed by telephone. Participants were presented with a vignette describing a depressed adolescent and asked to use the Abbreviated Acceptability Rating Profile to indicate their opinion of four single treatments (cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy, and pharmacotherapy) for depression and three treatment combinations. Consistent with hypotheses, psychotherapy approaches were generally more acceptable to adolescents than combinations of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Pharmacotherapy used alone was not acceptable, on average. There was preliminary evidence to support the hypotheses that treatment acceptability is related to ethnicity, acculturation, and perceived causes of depression; however, contrary to expectations, treatment acceptability was not associated with symptom severity in this study. Implications for increasing the utilization of mental health services in this population are discussed and directions for future research are offered.