Screening for and Personalizing Prevention of Adolescent Depression

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Depression is a prevalent, distressing, and often recurrent disorder. Adolescence represents a vulnerable developmental period when rates of depression surge and many people experience their first episode. Some professional agencies now recommend universal screening starting at age 12. In this article, I advocate for a risk-based approach to screening for adolescent depression that can improve on current approaches and facilitate more seamless connections to enable personalizing the prevention of depression on the basis of risk-group classification. I review empirical examples for screening based on established risk factors that predict later depression and provide evidence that risk groups can reliably and validly classify adolescents at risk for future development of depression based on cognitive and interpersonal vulnerabilities. These risk groups inform one approach to personalizing prevention of depression by matching youths’ risk to established, evidence-based prevention programs (cognitive or interpersonal). Promising data from a randomized trial suggest that this personalized depression-prevention strategy can reduce depression better than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • adolescence
  • children
  • depression
  • prevention
  • risk
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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