The Family Check Up and Adolescent Depression: An Examination of Treatment Responders and Non-Responders

Arin M. Connell, Elizabeth Stormshak, Thomas Dishion, Gregory Fosco, Mark Van Ryzin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Family Check Up (FCU) is a family-centered intervention for reducing children’s problem behavior through improving parenting skills and family interactions. Although the FCU was designed to prevent conduct problems, we have also found the program to be effective in preventing escalating symptoms of depression in early adolescence. The current analyses examine heterogeneous patterns of response to treatment in an effort to identify factors associated with differential response to family intervention. We examined heterogeneity in trajectories of youth-reported depressive symptoms from grades 6 to 9, using a Latent Growth Mixture Modeling framework to identify patterns of treatment response and non-response. Three symptom trajectories were identified, including the following: (1) a large class exhibiting stable, low symptom levels, (2) a class exhibiting high and stable depressive symptoms, and (3) a class exhibiting low initial symptoms that increased over time. Significant intervention effects were identified only among the third class, as a preventive effect on depression from 7th to 9th grade for youth with low initial symptoms. No effect of intervention was observed in the other two classes. Comparisons of classes 2 and 3 suggested that class 3 members were more likely to be females with high baseline antisocial behavior, but lower initial levels of depression. The findings suggest the importance of exploring heterogeneity within a prevention design, as well as the importance of tailored approaches to the prevention of adolescent depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalPrevention Science
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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