Training for Awareness, Resilience, and Action (TARA)

Adolescent depressive disorder affects 8-20% of youth, but current treatments have important limitations. Antidepressant drugs have increased risks in adolescents and limited efficacy. Immature development of the pre-frontal cortex in adolescents may limit the efficacy of traditional psychotherapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavior therapy.

In the TARA study, we aimed to refine and pilot test an innovative group treatment model for adolescent depression, based on our current understanding of the neuroscience of adolescent depression. It employs specific approaches drawn from mindfulness practices and yoga to promote physiological regulation and attention modulation, emotion regulation, and cognitive control.

We performed a single-arm trial to test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of TARA in reducing depression and anxiety levels with 26 adolescents (14-18 years old, 7 males and 19 females).

We found preliminary evidence that the TARA program resulted in significant improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as in psychological flexibility, sleep and mindfulness.

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