Six-Year Follow-up of a Preventive Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Youths: A Randomized Controlled Trial | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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October 4, 2010

Six-Year Follow-up of a Preventive Intervention for Parentally Bereaved Youths: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychology and Prevention Research Center (Drs Sandler, Ayers, Tein, Wolchik, Millsap, and Luecken and Mss Schoenfelder and Coxe), Arizona State University, Tempe (Dr Ma); Australian Council for Educational Research, Camberwell, Victoria, Australia (Dr Khoo) and College at Old Westbury, State University of New York, Old Westbury (Dr Kaplan).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010;164(10):907-914. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.173

Objective  To evaluate the efficacy of the Family Bereavement Program (FBP) to prevent mental health problems in parentally bereaved youths and their parents 6 years later.

Design  Randomized controlled trial.

Setting  Arizona State University Prevention Research Center from November 2002 to July 2005.

Participants  Two hundred eighteen bereaved youths (89.34% of 244 enrolled in the trial 6 years earlier) and 113 spousally bereaved parents.

Interventions  The FBP includes 12 group sessions for caregivers and youths; the literature control (LC) condition includes bereavement books for youths and caregivers.

Main Outcome Measures  Comparisons of youths in the FBP and LC on a measure of mental disorder diagnosis, 5 measures of mental health problems, and 4 measures of competent functioning; and comparisons of spousally bereaved parents on 2 measures of mental health problems.

Results  Youths in the FBP as compared with those in the LC had significantly lower externalizing problems as reported by caregivers and youths (adjusted mean, −0.06 vs 0.13, respectively; P = .02) and on teacher reports of externalizing problems (adjusted mean, 52.69 vs 56.27, respectively; P = .001) and internalizing problems (adjusted mean, 47.29 vs 56.27, respectively; P = .002), and they had higher self-esteem (adjusted mean, 33.93 vs 31.91, respectively; P = .005). Parents in the FBP had lower depression scores than those in the LC (adjusted mean, 5.48 vs 7.83, respectively; P = .04). A significant moderated program effect indicated that for youths with lower baseline problems, the rate of diagnosed mental disorder was lower for those in the FBP than in the LC.

Conclusion  This study demonstrates efficacy of the FBP to reduce mental health problems of bereaved youths and their parents 6 years later.

Trial Registration Identifier: NCT01008189