A Dissemination and Implementation Approach to Preventing Anxiety and Depression in Young People
- Author(s): Rith-Najarian, Leslie
- Advisor(s): Chavira, Denise A
- Chorpita, Bruce F
- et al.
Online prevention programs for anxiety and depression have great potential to alleviate the two most prevalent mental health concerns in university students. Chapter 1 presents a systematic review of existing prevention programs for anxiety, stress, and depression in university students. Results showed that although these programs on average produce moderate effects for symptom change and have common practice elements, they are limited by non-representative samples and variable adherence rates. Informed by findings of the systematic review, an original online anxiety and depression prevention program was developed for universal delivery with university students. The intervention’s implementation was tested and iteratively modified through subsequent research studies, as overviewed in Chapters 2, 3, and 4. Chapter 2 presents two studies that collected observational data during intervention recruitment phases in order to examine the impact of marketing strategies for the online intervention. Replicated findings showed that recruitment and branding strategies successfully engaged traditionally underserved students (e.g., male students, Asian-identifying students). Chapter 3 presents an open trial study that collected quantitative and qualitative data to assess feasibility of the intervention’s implementation and research procedures. Findings supported feasibility in terms of recruitment strategies, participant adherence/retention, program acceptability, and pre-post symptom change assessment procedures, as well as qualitative themes about participant experiences. Chapter 4 presents a randomized controlled trial (RCT) that examined intervention effectiveness and moderators of symptom change. Results showed that the intervention condition outperformed a waitlist for improvements in depression, anxiety, and stress. Symptom improvement effects were replicated by the waitlist group, maintained through 3-month follow-up, and moderated by internal motivation for treatment. Overall, findings from all dissertation studies are discussed in terms of provided insights about how we can attract, engage, and ultimately help more young people. The Dissertation Discussion chapter considers overall takeaways, strengths, and future directions of the presented dissertation research.