The effects of an innovative Cognitive Control and Emotion Regulation Skills Training (CEST) on adolescent inpatients with depression: a clustered randomised controlled trial
Although current psychotherapies for depression have been shown to be effective in reducing depressive symptoms, a significant proportion of adolescent patients (30-40%) relapse after initial recovery. This highlights the absolute need for new intervention programs that target basic mechanisms underlying the development of depressive episodes. The studies included my PhD and other recent evidence reliably demonstrate that both cognitive control (CC) deficits and emotion regulation (ER) difficulties play a crucial role in the etiology and maintenance of adolescent depression. To date however, despite growing evidence in adults, studies investigating the effects of intervention programs focusing on CC, ER, or the combination of both in depressed adolescents are lacking. Hence, the major aim of my postdoc project is to evaluate whether training CC and ER skills enhances the effectiveness of conventional treatments for inpatient depressed adolescents. Adult research already showed positive effects of training programs focusing on either CC or ER, yet only one study demonstrated the positive effects an integrated cognitive-emotional program. Moreover, studies in depressed adolescents are non-existent which makes my proposal innovative and relevant.