Depression knowledge in high school students: Effectiveness of the adolescent depression awareness program

Anne E. Ruble, Phillip J. Leon, Laura Gilley-Hensley, Sally G. Hess, Karen L. Swartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: Major depression is a common disorder among teenagers and is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds. Early identification and treatment is essential to prevent suicide. Depression education is a potential intervention for improving knowledge about depression and help-seeking behavior. Methods: The Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) is a school-based depression education intervention with a core message that depression is a treatable medical illness. 710 high school students from six schools in Tulsa, OK participated in the study comparing changes in knowledge about depression and attitudes toward treatment-seeking between students receiving the intervention and those who did not. Changes in depression knowledge and attitude toward help-seeking were measured using the ADAP Depression Knowledge Questionnaire (ADKQ). Results: There was a significant positive change in ADKQ score for students receiving the intervention but not in the control group. The intervention group also demonstrated a significant difference in willingness to "tell someone" if concerned about depression in a peer, which was not present in the control group. Limitations: The students were not randomized to the intervention and control groups. The ADKQ evaluates attitudes about help-seeking but not behavior. Conclusions: A school-based educational intervention improved knowledge about depression and attitudes toward help-seeking in adolescents. Future studies should investigate if such change in knowledge results in help-seeking behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1030
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 25 2013


  • Adolescent depression
  • Depression education
  • School-based interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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