Preventing Depressive Symptoms in Chinese Adolescents: A Pilot Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Xinfeng Tang, Siming Jia, Xiaoyu Zhuang, Daniel Fu Keung Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: Depressive symptoms are prevalent among Chinese adolescents. However, there is a lack of effective prevention programs to reduce depressive symptoms. Methods: A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial was implemented in a sample of senior secondary school adolescents. Participants in the intervention group (N = 148) received a 6-week universal prevention course, whereas the control group (N = 131) received a routine course focusing on career development. Results: The linear mixed models showed that the group × time interaction was significant for depressive symptoms measured by DASS-21 (F(2, 550) = 5.72, p =.003) and marginally significant for that measured by SMFQ (F(2, 549) = 2.41, p =.09). Likewise, the level of anxiety and stress were significantly reduced after the program, but not maintained in the follow-up. Conclusions: This pilot study showed that a universal prevention program is promising in reducing adolescent depressive symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-371
Number of pages12
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • adolescent
  • depressive symptoms
  • randomized controlled trial
  • secondary schools
  • universal prevention


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