(i) the scientific basis of the project and (optional) translational aspects of the project
Depressive disorders are prevalent among adolescents, with up to 27% of young people reporting depressive symptoms by the age of 18. It was previously thought that depression preceded low self-esteem and that once the depression was treated, then self-esteem would also improve. However, a number of longitudinal systematic reviews have now shown that low self-esteem precedes depression. Therefore, if self-esteem can be improved, depression could also be improved. There is little in the literature on the effectiveness of self-esteem interventions. Brown has found that day-long self-confidence workshops for 459 adults in large groups (n=30) can lead to reduced depression (d=0.55) at 3 month follow-up in a controlled RCT. However, there is no equivalent intervention for adolescents.
There are few preventative interventions for adolescent depression. The translational outcome of this PhD is that the intervention could form the basis of a much needed preventative intervention for adolescent depression.
(ii) the aims of this Phd study
To review the literature and co-produce the depression programme with older adolescents in schools, adapting the original manual for adults. There will be opportunities to design novel ways of delivering the programme to young people.
(iii) the techniques and skills that will be learnt
These will include systematic review techniques, acquiring knowledge in developmental psychopathology, learning co-production techniques to develop the new intervention with and for young people and evaluating the intervention.
(iv) over-arching objectives for each year of the PhD project.
Year 1: Systematic review of self-esteem interventions for older adolescents in schools
Year 2: Co-production of new intervention, using the MRC complex intervention guidelines
Year 3: Piloting the new intervention and evaluating it for feasibility and acceptability and writing up