Prevention of mental-health problems is coming to be seen as as important - if not more than - treating them once they have started. Preventing problems in college students, or people of the same age outside college, could be particularly useful as this is a time of upheaval and stress when many mental-health problems begin. Researchers in the U.S. looked into an early-intervention programme for college students made up of parts of the cognitive-behavioural analysis system of psychotherapy. The programme was given in a 2-hour, computer-based educational programme. The researchers wanted to look at the moderating factors affecting the programme's effectiveness. A moderating factor is a third factor affecting the link between two other ones. For example, a driver's skill might be a moderating factor between the power of a racing car and its speed around a circuit. The researchers found that the effectiveness of the programme on depression was moderated by insomnia, its effectiveness for anxiety was moderated by past post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias and sleep-problems linked to nightmares and its effectiveness on symptoms of general negative mood was moderated by social phobia and suicidal thoughts.
Cukrowicz, Kelly C. ... [et al] - The moderation of an early intervention program for anxiety and depression by specific psychological symptoms Journal of Clinical Psychology April 2009, 65(4), 337-351