Parenting strategies for reducing the risk of adolescent depression and anxiety disorders: a Delphi consensus study

Marie Bee Hui Yap, Pamela Doreen Pilkington, Siobhan Mary Ryan, Claire M Kelly, Anthony F Jorm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Background The family setting, particularly parents, is a strategic target for preventive interventions for youth depression and anxiety disorders. However, more effective translation of relevant research evidence is required. Method This study employed the Delphi methodology to establish expert consensus on parenting strategies that are important for preventing adolescent depression or anxiety disorders. A literature search identified 402 recommendations for parents. These were presented to a panel of 27 international experts over three survey rounds, who rated their preventive importance. Results One-hundred and ninety parenting strategies were endorsed as important or essential in reducing adolescents risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders by =90 of the panel. These strategies were written into a document suitable for parents, categorised under 11 sub-headings: You can reduce your child s risk of depression and anxiety problems, Establish and maintain a good relationship with your teenager, Be involved and support increasing autonomy, Establish family rules and consequences, Minimise conflict in the home, Encourage supportive relationships, Help your teenager deal with problems, Encourage good health habits, Help your teenager to deal with anxiety, Encourage professional help seeking when needed, and Don?t blame yourself. Limitations This study utilised an international panel of experts from Western countries, hence the strategies identified may not be relevant for families from other cultural groups. Conclusions This study produced a set of parenting strategies that are supported by research evidence and/or international experts, which can now be promoted in Western English-speaking communities to help parents protect their adolescents from depression and anxiety disorders
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67 - 75
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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