School-based intervention to improve the mental health of low-income, secondary school students in Santiago, Chile (YPSA): Study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Ricardo Araya*, Alan A. Montgomery, Rosemarie Fritsch, David Gunnell, Paul Stallard, Sian Noble, Vania Martinez, Sergio Barroilhet, Paul Vohringer, Viviana Guajardo, Felix Cova, Jorge Gaete, Alejandro Gomez, Graciela Rojas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: Depression is common and can have devastating effects on the life of adolescents. Psychological interventions are the first-line for treating or preventing depression among adolescents. This proposal aims to evaluate a school-based, universal psychological intervention to reduce depressive symptoms among student's aged 13-14 attending municipal state secondary schools in Santiago, Chile.Study design: This is a cluster randomised controlled trial with schools as the main clusters. We compared this intervention with a control group in a study involving 22 schools, 66 classes and approximately 2,600 students. Students in the active schools attended 11 weekly and 3 booster sessions of an intervention based on cognitive-behavioural models. The control schools received their usual but enhanced counselling sessions currently included in their curriculum. Mean depression scores and indicators of levels of functioning were assessed at 3 and 12 months after the completion of the intervention in order to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. Direct and indirect costs were measured in both groups to assess the cost-effectiveness of this intervention.Discussion: As far as we are aware this is the first cluster randomised controlled trial of a school intervention for depression among adolescents outside the Western world.Trial Registration: ISRCTN19466209.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Wellcome Trust (project number 082584 Z/ 07/Z). The views and opinions expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Wellcome Trust. We would also like to thank all the members of the Steering Committee and DMEC who made great contributions to the project. Our thanks to all research workers and school staff who contributed to this project, without their hard work and dedication this project would have never been possible. The formative phase and pilot study were completed in January 2009. The main trial started in March 2009 and we are now conducting the 12 month follow-up assessment. No follow up data has yet been analyzed.


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