Overview

This trial is active, not recruiting.

Conditions suicide, depression, family relationships
Treatments attachment-based family therapy, family-enhanced non-directive supportive therapy
Phase phase 2
Sponsor Drexel University
Collaborator National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Start date March 2012
End date December 2016
Trial size 129 participants
Trial identifier NCT01537419, 1304001985, R01MH091059-01A1

Summary

This study will evaluate the efficacy of attachment based family therapy (ABFT) for treatment of suicidality in adolescents. The study will compare 16 weeks of treatment with ABFT to a control condition Family Enhanced Non-directive Supportive Therapy (FE-NST).

United States No locations recruiting
Other Countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Allocation randomized
Endpoint classification efficacy study
Intervention model parallel assignment
Masking single blind (outcomes assessor)
Primary purpose treatment
Arm
(Active Comparator)
Family-Enhanced Non-directive Supportive Therapy (FE-NST) is a 16 week therapy designed to control for the non-specific effects of psychotherapy with suicidal youth. FE-NST aims toward relief or reduction of symptoms without expectation of change in the basic personality structure. We have added a parent component to: a) control for parent involvement and b) improve the generalizability and safety of the FE-NST treatment. This enhancement consists of 5 potential parent sessions beginning with a family safety plan in the initial treatment session that will be monitored regularly throughout the treatment. The remaining 4 parent psycho-education sessions offer parents knowledge, skills and support to improve management of the suicidal teen.
family-enhanced non-directive supportive therapy
Family-Enhanced Non-directive Supportive Therapy (FE-NST) is a 16 week therapy designed to control for the non-specific effects of psychotherapy with suicidal youth. FE-NST aims toward relief or reduction of symptoms without expectation of change in the basic personality structure. We have added a parent component to: a) control for parent involvement and b) improve the generalizability and safety of the FE-NST treatment. This enhancement consists of 5 potential parent sessions beginning with a family safety plan in the initial treatment session that will be monitored regularly throughout the treatment. The remaining 4 parent psycho-education sessions offer parents knowledge, skills and support to improve management of the suicidal teen.
(Experimental)
Although ABFT therapists implement behavior focused and psychoeducational interventions, the model is primarily a process oriented, emotion focused treatment guided by a semi-structured treatment protocol. ABFT aims to improve the family's capacity for problem solving, affect regulation, and organization. This strengthens family cohesion which can buffer against depression, suicidal thinking, and risk behaviors.
attachment-based family therapy
Although ABFT therapists implement behavior focused and psychoeducational interventions, the model is primarily a process oriented, emotion focused treatment guided by a semi-structured treatment protocol. ABFT aims to improve the family's capacity for problem solving, affect regulation, and organization. This strengthens family cohesion which can buffer against depression, suicidal thinking, and risk behaviors.

Primary Outcomes

Measure
Change in the Intensity of Suicidal Ideation
time frame: 16, 32 and 52 weeks

Secondary Outcomes

Measure
Change in the evidence of family conflict between parent and youth after intervention
time frame: 16, 32 and 52 weeks
Change in the severity of depression symptoms
time frame: 16, 32 and 52 weeks

Eligibility Criteria

Male or female participants from 12 years up to 18 years old.

Inclusion Criteria: - Adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 - Adolescents endorse severe suicidal ideation (SIQ-JR > 31) and moderate depression (BDI-II > 20) at two time points (1 to 3 days) - At least one primary parent or caregiver must participate in the assessment and treatment. This could be a biological parent, stepparent, grandparent, other relative, or a foster parent, who has at least frequent contact with the subject. When possible both parents will participate in the assessment and treatment. Legal custody is always considered (e.g., divorced parents). Having all family members present at every session is not required. Many individual meetings with the subject or the parent are planned in both treatments. Exclusion Criteria: - Evidence of imminent risk of harm to self or others that cannot be safely treated on an outpatient basis - Evidence of psychotic features [as reported on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children; Voice Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (VDISC)] - Evidence of suffering from severe cognitive impairment (e.g., mental retardation, severe developmental disorders) as evidenced by educational records, parental report and/or clinical impression). - Subjects taking antidepressant medication for depression for less than 6 weeks prior to the screening.

Additional Information

Official title Attachment Based Family Therapy (ABFT) for Suicidal Adolescents
Principal investigator Guy Diamond, PhD
Description Suicide is the third leading cause of death for American adolescents. Nearly one million adolescents a year attempt suicide and about 500,000 adolescents a year are admitted to psychiatric hospitals for suicide attempts or serious suicidal ideation. This leads to high emotional costs for families and financial cost for the health system. Yet, no medication, and less than 10 psychotherapy studies have focused on suicidal youth and findings are mixed. There has been a call for new and innovative approaches for depression treatment highlights the need for alternative interventions for suicidal youth as well. Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) offers a promising alternative to prior treatments. It is a manualized family therapy targeting processes associated with suicide and depression. ABFT seeks to improve the adolescent-caregiver relationship by increasing the family's capacity for discussing and negotiating affectively charged issues in the relationship. Improvements in the attachment relationship provide adolescents with improved capacity for affect regulation and the ability to use the caregiver as a source of protection and support. These strengths buffer adolescents against suicide and other risk behaviors. Four studies have demonstrated that ABFT can reduce suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms with an average effect size of .97. Unfortunately, interpretation of these studies is compromised by lack of a controlled comparison treatment. This study aims to test the efficacy of ABFT using a comparison group that controls for treatment dose, duration, therapist expertise, ecological factors, and family involvement. The study includes one year follow-up data, assessment staff blind to treatment condition and tests of the purported active ingredients of ABFT. Putative change processes will be tested including: a)adolescents' expectancies for parent availability, b) emotion regulation during parent-adolescent conflict discussions, and c) resolution of loss and abuse. To test this, Dr. Kobak, a leading adolescent attachment researcher, will use the Adult Attachment Interview and observational coding of the family interaction task to test these treatment mechanisms. If successful, the findings will provide evidence for both the efficacy and specificity of a family based treatment mechanism. The investigators will recruit and randomize 130 adolescents to 16 weeks of ABFT or Family-Enhanced Non-directive Supportive Therapy (FE-NST). Assessments will be conducted at baseline, 8, 16, 32 and 52 weeks. The primary and secondary aims assess whether ABFT reduces suicidal ideation, depression, family conflict, and future suicide attempts more effectively than control. Exploratory aims test a) whether ABFT can improve parent adolescent attachment, b) if attachment mediates outcome, and if a history of trauma, parental depression or family conflict moderate outcome. The study targets adolescents with severe and persistent suicidal ideation selected from inner city, minority youth.
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in May 2016.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by Drexel University.