Treatment of Comorbid Conduct Problems and Depression in Youth: A Pilot Study

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to pilot a cognitive behavioral treatment protocol for adolescents with co-occurring conduct problems and depression and to examine changes in diagnostic status, symptomatic improvement, and related areas of functioning associated with this treatment. Manualized treatment consisted of 11 to 16 sessions that targeted problem solving skills, cognitive restructuring, affect regulation skills, and parenting strategies. A non-concurrent multiple baseline design was used to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. A sample of five adolescents, aged 11 to 14 years, participated; all five families completed the protocol. Measures of diagnostic status, symptoms, and global impairment were administered at baseline, post-treatment, and 1-month post-treatment. Decreases in depression and conduct problem symptoms as well as changes in diagnostic status were evident for three of the five participants. Clinician severity ratings improved for all of the children at post-treatment. Preliminary results suggest that integrated cognitive behavioral treatment for adolescents with conduct problems and depression is associated with symptomatic improvement as well. Results of this study have implications for improving treatment outcomes for youth with these comorbid conditions and may also lead to increased conceptual understanding of the nature of these comorbid problems. Randomized clinical trials are required to assess the effectiveness of this combined treatment program.



adolescent, treatment, depression, conduct problems