Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 13 Issue 1 (January/February 2003), Pages 1-83

The prevention of depressive symptoms in rural Australian women (pages 1-14)


Two interventions aimed at preventing depressive symptoms in women living in Western Australian rural communities were evaluated against a no‐intervention control condition. The standard intervention was based upon traditional cognitive‐behaviour treatments for depression; the experimental intervention was based upon prevention strategies derived from the learned helplessness model of depression (e.g. Peterson, Maier, & Seligman, 1993). Seventy‐six women were randomly assigned to either the standard or the experimental group, and a further 20 women formed a no‐intervention control group. The standard group showed a reduction in depressive symptoms at post‐test, but no effects at 6‐week or 6‐month follow‐ups. In contrast, a reduction in depressive symptoms did not appear for the experimental group until the 6‐week follow‐up at which time a less depressive attributional style was also evident; these effects were even more pronounced at the 6‐month follow‐up. The no‐intervention control group showed no changes across time. It is argued that these results support the applicability of prevention strategies based on the learned helplessness model to this population. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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