Stepped Care Interpersonal Psychotherapy Treatment for Depressed Adolescents: A Pilot Study in Pediatric Clinics

  • Laura Mufson
  • Moira Rynn
  • Paula Yanes-Lukin
  • Tse Hwei Choo
  • Karen Soren
  • Eileen Stewart
  • Melanie Wall
Original Article


Adolescents with depression are at risk for negative long-term consequences and recurrence of depression. Many do not receive nor access treatment, especially Latino youth. New treatment approaches are needed. This study examined the feasibility and acceptability of a stepped collaborative care treatment model (SCIPT-A) for adolescents with depression utilizing interpersonal psychotherapy for adolescents (IPT-A) and antidepressant medication (if needed) compared to Enhanced Treatment as Usual (E-TAU) in urban pediatric primary care clinics serving primarily Latino youth. Results suggest the SCIPT-A model is feasible, acceptable and potentially beneficial for urban Latino adolescents. Clinicians delivered the SCIPT-A model with fidelity using supervision successfully implemented in a community setting.


Adolescents Depression Psychotherapy Primary care Treatment Interpersonal Collaborative care 



We would like to thank the pediatricians, social workers, and staff at the NewYork Presbyterian Hospital Ambulatory Pediatric Clinics for their commitment to making this study a success, Drs. Roberto Lewis-Fernández and Mark Olfson (from the Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY, USA) for their valuable insights in designing and executing the study as well as their feedback on the manuscript, and our clinical evaluators and volunteer staff who also contributed to the successful completion of the project.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health Grant # R34 MH091320.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Mufson receives book royalties from Guilford Press, Inc. and Oxford University Press, and has received speaker honorarium from Janssen Pharmaceuticals and research support from the National Institute of Mental Health. She has received fees for academic lectures and Ground Rounds. Rynn has received research support from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Eli Lilly and Shire. She has served as a consultant to Shire and has received royalties from American Psychiatric Publishing and a writing fee from Oxford University Press. She has received fees for academic lectures and Ground Rounds. The other authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All authors complied with APA ethical standards in the treatment of participants and all work was approved by the Institutional Review Board at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Informed consent/assent was obtained from all study participants and their parents, if applicable.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke UniversityDurhamUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsColumbia University College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsNYP-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Social WorkNYP-Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Medical CenterNew YorkUSA

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