Research Highlights

Enhancing Outcomes in Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa with Cognitive Remediation Therapy

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently funded a study, "Enhancing Outcomes in Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa with Cognitive Remediation Therapy."  Dr. Alix Timko is the principle investigator.  Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that begins in adolescence. To date, there is only one intervention with substantial support for treating anorexia in adolescents: Family Based Treatment (FBT). Studies in adults and adolescents with anorexia indicate that they have inefficiencies in cognitive flexibility.  Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) is a treatment known to improve cognitive flexibility. The study tests the hypothesis that adding CRT to FBT can improve long-term outcomes for adolescents with anorexia. In this study, adolescents ages 12-18 with anorexia will be enrolled in one of three treatment combinations: FBT alone, FBT plus parent-focused CRT or FBT plus adolescent-focused CRT. The ultimate purpose of this project is to determine whether or not CRT improves cognitive flexibility in parents, adolescents, or both. If successful, it will be the first step in determining how best to add CRT to FBT in order to improve outcomes.

School Adolescent Mood Project: Efficacy of Counselor-Implemented IPT-AST

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is funding a 5-year school-based study, "School Adolescent Mood Project: Efficacy of Counselor-Implemented IPT-AST." Dr. Jami Young is the principal investigator of the study.  Interpersonal Psychotherapy-Adolescent Skills Training (IPT-AST) is an evidence-based depression prevention program.  The purpose of this study is to test whether IPT-AST is effective when implemented by school counselors and leads to positive adolescent outcomes.  School counselors in the School District of Philadelphia will be randomly assigned to deliver IPT-AST or services-as-usual (SAU).  Adolescents with elevated depressive symptoms will be identified, randomized to IPT-AST or SAU, and assessed over time to examine social, emotional, and school outcomes and moderators and mediators of intervention effects.  Additionally, the study will examine key implementation variables, which will inform future implementation efforts. The study will yield important information on the acceptability and efficacy of counselor-delivered IPT-AST and will promote the provision of more efficacious care in schools.

Reducing Disparities in Behavioral Health Treatment for Children in Primary Care

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is funding a 4-year comparative effectiveness study, “Reducing Disparities in Behavioral Health Treatment for Children in Primary Care”. Principal investigators for the study are Thomas Power, PhD and Jennifer Mautone, PhD. The project focuses on children with ADHD between 5 and 11 years and families of low-income, racial/ethnic minority background, who often have difficulty getting access to behavior therapy. The intervention strategy, which focuses on connecting families, schools, and the primary care system, will be delivered by Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids providers in the participating primary care practices. The study addresses the question: “Does it make sense to integrate behavior therapy into primary care practice to treat children with ADHD from low-income settings?” This study will compare behavior therapy integrated into primary care to treatment as usual (TAU) informed by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for the treatment of ADHD. The project is designed to improve family use of services for ADHD, reduce children’s symptoms of ADHD, and improve children’s academic achievement, behavioral compliance, interpersonal relationships, and life satisfaction.