An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Simple Marketing Intervention in Changing Student Attitudes to Depression

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00122083
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : July 21, 2005
Last Update Posted : July 26, 2005
Wyeth is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer
Information provided by:
University of Oxford

Brief Summary:
The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a simple marketing intervention in changing attitudes towards depression and its treatment among university students.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment
Depression Device: Health education information

Detailed Description:

Depression is a major public health problem. It is common, affecting approximately 10 percent of the United Kingdom (UK) community at any one time. Britain’s student population is particularly at risk.

Knowledge of effective treatments for depression is burgeoning thanks to a rapid increase in the quantity and quality of relevant research. Regardless of these advances, depression is still under-reported (Freeling et al., 1985) and general practitioners often fail to diagnose it.

When depression is correctly diagnosed, most patients in primary care will receive a prescription for an antidepressant. However, some patients will not have the prescription dispensed, and most will not complete the full recommended course. Compliance with psychological treatments is also a problem.

Study Design:

  • Pilot work: The intervention consisted of mailing (to each undergraduate student’s pigeon-hole) a pack of 4 postcards which provided brief information on depression in an attractive format. One postcard summarised information on depression as an illness; one summarised information on the causes of depression; one summarised information on the treatment of depression; and one summarised information on how to seek help for depression. Prior to the trial, the drafts were revised through feedback from a focus group of 5 students, who discussed the design and content of the draft postcards. The focus group participants were recruited from the Queen’s College, as this college did not participate in the trial. The focus group contributed to the revision of the draft questionnaire.
  • The trial: The design was a cluster, randomised, controlled trial. Individual Oxford University colleges which accept undergraduate students were the units of randomisation. Twenty-eight colleges were randomised. Permanent private halls and postgraduate colleges were excluded, as was the Queen’s College (due to it being the lead investigator’s college) and Harris Manchester College (a college for mature students).

Half of the randomised colleges received no intervention; the other half received the intervention.

A questionnaire was administered before and after the intervention to half of the undergraduate students in each of the colleges. The same questionnaire was used for both time points. Questions addressed knowledge of, and attitudes towards:

  • depression as an illness;
  • symptoms of depression;
  • treatment for depression;
  • sources of help for depression.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 1680 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Educational/Counseling/Training
Official Title: A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Effectiveness of a Simple Marketing Intervention in Changing Student Attitudes to Depression
Study Start Date : April 2004
Estimated Study Completion Date : June 2004

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. The primary outcome was the proportion of participants responding positively to the question ‘Can depression be effectively treated?’

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Secondary outcomes included the correct identification of the symptoms of depression and the effectiveness of certain treatments.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Undergraduate students at Oxford University

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Postgraduate students
  • Students at the excluded colleges

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00122083

United Kingdom
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, OX1 3JX
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Oxford
Wyeth is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer
Principal Investigator: John Geddes University of Oxford

Publications: Identifier: NCT00122083     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UOxford
First Posted: July 21, 2005    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: July 26, 2005
Last Verified: March 2004

Keywords provided by University of Oxford:
Health education

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Depressive Disorder
Behavioral Symptoms
Mood Disorders
Mental Disorders