Examining the Effectiveness of a Web-Based Intervention for Depressive Symptoms in Female Adolescents: Applying Social Cognitive Theory

Babak Moeini, Saeed Bashirian, Ali Reza Soltanian, Ali Ghaleiha, Malihe Taheri


Background: Depression is a serious mental health illness among adolescents especially girls. Web-based treatment can possibly become a solution for reducing mental health problems in adolescents. This study is one of the first trials aimed to evaluate the efficiency of web-based depression improvement program among female adolescents based on the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT).

Study design: Randomized Controlled Trial.

Methods: A six-month randomized controlled trial based on the SCT was implemented in female schools in Hamadan City, west of Iran in 2018 on 128 female students with mild to moderate depressive symptoms (CES-D =10-45). They were randomly assigned to either intervention or control group (n= 64 in each group). Depression improvement program was implemented through the website via short videos, animations and Power-Point slides. Depression was evaluated using Center for Epidemiologic Depression Scale. A researcher-made questionnaire based on the sheerer and Perceived-Social-Support-Scale-Revised (PSSS-R) questionnaires were used to evaluate the SCT constructs. The data were analyzed using SPSS software.

Results: The intervention program resulted in the improvement of depression in 12 wk based on Intent-to-treat analyses. Nevertheless, these achievements seem to have decreased by 24 wk in intervention group. The intervention increased the mean scores of the constructs of social support and self-regulation from baseline to 12 wk in the intervention group (P<0.05). The intervention had no effect on outcome expectations and self-efficacy. There were no statistically significant associated between theory constructs changes and changes in depression (P>0.05).

Conclusion: The web-based intervention improved depression in female students. Future training using strategies for the sustainable improvement of depression in female students are needed.



Depression; Social cognitive theory; Web-based intervention; Adolescents

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