Promoting Teen Attachment & Development (PTAD) Lab
Healthy Emotions and Relationships with Teens - A Guide for Parents [HEART-P]
by Kristina Reigstad, Psy.D., L.P. on June 29th, 2020

Faculty in the PTAD lab developed an 8-session psychotherapeutic intervention for parents of depressed adolescents, Healthy Emotions And Relationships with Teens- A Guide for Parents [HEART-P] (Reigstad, 2017). Drs. Reigstad and Gunlicks-Stoessel were awarded a University of Minnesota Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry, and Scholarship from the Office of the Vice President for Research to complete an open pilot study to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of this newly developed intervention. HEART-P targets attachment-related parenting behaviors and provides parents with specific parenting skills to address disruptions in parent-adolescent attachment, and supports their adolescents' recovery from depression. Fifteen parent/parent dyads of adolescents (age 12-18) with a depression diagnosis (4 mother-father dyads, 14 individual mothers, and 1 individual father) participated in a 10-week open trial of HEART-P. Parents attended every session, completing the intervention with 100% adherence to the protocol, and expressed high levels of satisfaction in the intervention. Parents reported significant improvement in their relationship with their adolescent, and in their perception of their parenting skills. Parents also reported a significant increase in receiving practical help and emotional support from their spouse, improved communication with their adolescent, and increased confidence in limit setting with their adolescent. HEART-P was feasible to implement and acceptable to families. Given the public health need for improved outcomes of depression treatment, this work is warranted and timely. Next steps include pursuing research funding to conduct a full-scale randomized control trial to evaluate the efficacy of this newly developed intervention.

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