Research projects

Development of an online interactive depression risk assessment and tailored preventive intervention for healthy young people at high genetic risk of depression or bipolar

Principal researcher

Dr Alex Wilde1
Professor Philip Mitchell1
Associate Professor Bettina Meiser1
Associate Professor Judy Proudfoot1
Associate Professor Lyndal Trevana2
Professor Rhoshel Lenroot3
Professor Peter Schofield4

Institution

1 University of New South Wales
2 University of Sydney
3 Southeastern Sydney and Illawara Health Service/ University of New South Wales
4 Neuroscience Research Australia

Funding

$200,000

Award type

National Priority Driven Research Program

Project completion year

2013

Project overview

The project developed a new e-health program to help healthy young adults with an increased risk for major depressive disorder to build resilience. MindExpress – the skills to build resilience – is an online interactive depression preventive program for people with a family history of major depressive disorder. The program aims to help young people aged 18–25 years identify areas of their lives that increase vulnerability to depression. Its core and tailored modules are designed to facilitate adoption of evidence-based strategies tailored to personal circumstances as a part of a stay well healthy lifestyle. 

Findings of pilot study

Thirty participants were recruited to the MindExpress program from 43 registrants. Of these, 15 completed the core program and 10 completed the core plus tailored program. The mean age (SD) was 22.5 (4.7) years (range 18-25 years) and 25/30 were female. The mean (SD) time taken to complete the MindExpress program was 8.6 (3.3) weeks (range 4.4 weeks to 15 weeks). 

The MindExpress program was highly endorsed by participants as useful (7/10) and helpful (7/10). The greatest mean behavioural change was associated with the Coping Styles module. There was no or little mean change related the Thinking Styles module. Total mean depression scores decreased from 9.0 (mild-moderate depression) (30 participants) at the start to 5.1 (minimal-mild depression) at completion of core and tailored program (10 participants). Further evaluation in a randomised control trial will quantify the degree to which the MindExpress program will assist behavioural and cognitive change in depression prevention.

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