Methods: This study is a pilot two-group, single blinded, randomized controlled trial. One group received the intervention and the other one was assigned to a waiting list. Families (n=23) with at least one child between 6–12 years of age, and one parent with actual episode or history of depression were recruited and participated in the intervention. Of these families, 17 completed follow-up assessments 1 and 3 months after the intervention. The adapted intervention consisted of 7 weekly sessions delivered at the families’ homes. Acceptability and satisfaction of preventionists and parents were assessed using questionnaires after each session and a semi-structured interview in the last session. Parents and children assessments were conducted at baseline, post-intervention, one-month, and three-months follow-up.
Results: In terms of feasibility, 23 families were enrolled and participated in the intervention, and 18 families had a 100% attendance and completed the intervention. Parents reported high satisfaction with the intervention, the materials used and the contents discussed in each session, and semi-structured interviews after the last session revealed that the Familia Activa intervention was acceptable to the families. Parents reported experiencing positive family change throughout the intervention, improved family communication, more emphasis on positive activities and interactions with their children, and a more enriched parenting style. Preventionists also reported high satisfaction with the intervention, and suggested areas of improvement. In terms of effectiveness, maternal depressive symptoms decreased at post-intervention as well as 1 and 3 months later. Likewise, mothers showed better parenting skills, reflexive skills, and improved family adaptability after the intervention and in the follow-up assessments. Children did not report depressive symptoms after the intervention or in the follow-up assessments. There was a significant decrease in children’s behavioral problems at follow-up. Results suggest that Familia Activa is a feasible, acceptable, and effective intervention to prevent depression in children. ClinicalTrials.gov registry: NCT02593266