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Abstract Background Adolescent depression can place a young person at high risk of recurrence and a range of psychosocial and vocational impairments in adult life, highlighting the importance of early recognition and prevention. Parents/carers are well placed to notice changes in their child’s emotional wellbeing which may indicate risk, and there is increasing evidence that modifiable factors exist within the family system that may help reduce the risk of depression and anxiety in an adolescent. A randomised controlled trial (RCT) of the online personalised ‘Partners in Parenting’ programme developed in Australia, focused on improving parenting skills, knowledge and awareness, showed that it helped reduce depressive symptoms in adolescents who had elevated symptom levels at baseline. We have adapted this programme and will conduct an RCT in a UK setting. Methods In total, 433 family dyads (parents/carers and children aged 11–15) will be recruited through schools, social media and parenting/family groups in the UK. Following completion of screening measures of their adolescent’s depressive symptoms, parents/carers of those with elevated scores will be randomised to receive either the online personalised parenting programme or a series of online factsheets about adolescent development and wellbeing. The primary objective will be to test whether the personalised parenting intervention reduces depressive symptoms in adolescents deemed at high risk, using the parent-reported Short Mood & Feelings Questionnaire. Follow-up assessments will be undertaken at 6 and 15 months and a process evaluation will examine context, implementation and impact of the intervention. An economic evaluation will also be incorporated with cost-effectiveness of the parenting intervention expressed in terms of incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year gained. Discussion Half of mental health problems emerge before mid-adolescence and approximately three-quarters by mid-20s, highlighting the need for effective preventative strategies. However, few early interventions are family focused and delivered online. We aim to conduct a National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funded RCT of the online personalised ‘Partners in Parenting’ programme, proven effective in Australia, targeting adolescents at risk of depression to evaluate its effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and usability in a UK setting. Trial registration {2a} ISRCTN63358736. Registered 18 September 2019.

Original publication




Journal article




Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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