The Development of a Depression Preventive Intervention for Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Michael Christopher Meinzer, Florida International University


Despite the considerable progress made identifying attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a risk for depressive outcomes in adolescence and adulthood as well as potential explanations for the co-occurrence of ADHD and unipolar depression (i.e., emotion regulation, family support, and reward responsivity), targeted depression prevention efforts have not yet been implemented for adolescents with ADHD. Thus, the specific aims were as follows: (1) develop a behaviorally oriented, tailored, depression preventive intervention for adolescents with ADHD targeting variables empirically supported to account for the covariation between ADHD and depression (Behaviorally Enhancing Adolescents’ Mood; BEAM), (2) pilot BEAM in a small sample of adolescents with ADHD and their parents, (3) evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of BEAM, and (4) examine preliminary results regarding changes in depressive symptoms, emotion regulation, reward responsivity, and family support after BEAM. The sample consisted of 8 parent-adolescent dyads with adolescents ranging in age from 12 to 16 years old. Research questions were tested using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Outcome trends were evaluated using paired samples t-tests and reliable change indices. Semi-structured interviews were coded and analyzed qualitatively using NVivo10. Group-level analyses indicated that there were significant differences in depressive symptoms, emotion regulation, and reward responsivity after BEAM. Findings on family support after BEAM were equivocal. According to reliable change indices used to analyze individual results, majority of participants saw improvements in depressive symptoms and emotion regulation. In addition to improvements in outcome variables, both parents and adolescents were highly satisfied with the BEAM program and used BEAM skills following the completion of the program. Though staff supervision notes suggested that several barriers for delivery of the program arose, the BEAM program was easy to implement and was done so with high integrity. The study’s main findings and their clinical implications are further discussed, including suggested revisions to the BEAM program. Future directions for research are presented with a focus on moving towards a large, randomized control trial.

Subject Area

Psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Meinzer, Michael Christopher, "The Development of a Depression Preventive Intervention for Adolescents with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder" (2016). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI10002877.