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Teens Coping With Parental Military Deployment (Helping Hand)

This study has been terminated.
(Terminated due to difficuly recruiting participants)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Anthony Spirito, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Identifier:
First received: May 21, 2010
Last updated: July 3, 2013
Last verified: July 2012
The total number of military personnel is over 3.5 million and approximately 43% have children. The deployment cycle can be associated with depression, anxiety, and behavior problems in children as well as psychological distress in the military spouse. Further, the health of family members can affect the physical and psychological functioning of the military service member during the deployment and re-integration periods. While research and federal funding has been dedicated toward developing treatments for the returning service member, intervention protocols for mental health problems in the children of military families have not been tested. In collaboration with the Family Readiness Program of the Rhode Island National Guard & Reserves, the purpose of this proposal is to develop a cognitive behavioral treatment protocol for adolescents experiencing depression, anxiety, and/or behavior problems associated with the deployment and re-integration phases of the military deployment cycle. This protocol will be created by modifying an NIH funded cognitive behavioral protocol for the treatment of adolescent mental health problems with initial demonstrated efficacy (PI, C. Esposito-Smythers). There are three primary aims in this project: 1) develop the manualized intervention protocol for adolescents experiencing mental health problems associated with the deployment cycle; 2) refine and pilot the intervention protocol with 12 families; and 3) test the intervention in a randomized pilot trial. To accomplish these aims, a two step sequence of treatment development is proposed. Stage Ia includes initial manual development, focus groups, therapist training, and an open pilot trial. Stage Ib includes a randomized pilot trial. Seventy-two adolescents and their caretakers will be enrolled through the Rhode Island Family Readiness program and randomly assigned to the experimental intervention or non-directive supportive therapy for their outpatient care. The experimental intervention includes 12 adolescent group sessions which address depression, anxiety, and behavior problems associated with the deployment cycle and 12 parent group sessions that address stress management and parenting skills. The non-directive supportive therapy condition includes 12 adolescent and 12 parent group sessions which involve patient initiated discussions focused on issues surrounding military deployment and re-integration. Outcome will be assessed at post-treatment and 3 month follow-up. The long term objective of this research is to yield an effective outpatient intervention for teens of military service members experiencing mental health problems associated with the deployment and re-integration phases of the deployment cycle.

Condition Intervention Phase
Emotional Distress
Behavior Problems
Behavioral: Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy
Behavioral: Nondirective supportive group therapy
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Mental Health Intervention for Teens Coping With Parental Military Deployment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Brown University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Depressed mood [ Time Frame: baseline, posttreatment, 3 month follow-up ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Behavior problems [ Time Frame: baseline, posttreatment, 3 month follow-up ]

Enrollment: 6
Study Start Date: January 2011
Study Completion Date: April 2012
Primary Completion Date: April 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Cognitive behavioral group therapy
Cognitive behavioral group therapy for adolescents and a parallel group for parents
Behavioral: Cognitive Behavioral Group Therapy
The CBT group therapy protocol will teach adolescents coping, cognitive restructuring, and affect regulation skills to remediate skills deficits that underlie depression, anxiety, and behavior problems associated with the deployment cycle. Parents will also learn stress management and parenting skills in their own group therapy sessions that occur as the same time as the adolescent group.
Active Comparator: Nondirective supportive group therapy
Nondirective supportive group therapy for adolescents and a parallel group for parents
Behavioral: Nondirective supportive group therapy
Patient initiated discussions form the basis for the intervention for both the adolescent group and the parent group


Ages Eligible for Study:   13 Years to 17 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

Adolescents must: 1) be 13-17 years old; 2) be English speaking; 3) provide adolescent assent; 4) have parental consent and a parent/legal guardian available to participate in the intervention protocol; 5) have a parent who is deployed or returned from a deployment within the last year; and 6) report current sub-clinical or clinical levels of depression, anxiety, or oppositional behavior. In order to meet the symptom criterion, adolescents must receive a T score of ≥ 65 on the affective problems, anxiety problems, and/or oppositional defiant problems on the Youth Self-Report or the Child Behavior Checklist.

Exclusion Criteria:

Adolescents who : 1) are developmentally delayed such that the intervention materials will not be appropriate; 2) are actively suicidal or psychotic at intake; 3) are receiving pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy in the community for depression, anxiety, or disruptive behavior which are the primary targets of this intervention; or 4) meet current criteria for a DSM-IV diagnosis of bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, substance dependence, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01128777

United States, Rhode Island
Brown Univerity
Providence, Rhode Island, United States, 02912
Sponsors and Collaborators
Brown University
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Principal Investigator: Anthony Spirito, PhD Brown University
  More Information

Responsible Party: Anthony Spirito, Professor, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Identifier: NCT01128777     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: R34MH082164 ( US NIH Grant/Contract Award Number )
Study First Received: May 21, 2010
Last Updated: July 3, 2013

Keywords provided by Brown University:
family conflict
behavior problems

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Problem Behavior
Behavioral Symptoms processed this record on April 26, 2017