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Depression Research and Treatment
Volume 2011, Article ID 871245, 11 pages
Review Article

Can Basic Risk Research Help in the Prevention of Childhood and Adolescent Depression? Examining a Cognitive and Emotional Regulation Approach

Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK

Received 1 July 2010; Accepted 26 July 2010

Academic Editor: Bettina F. Piko

Copyright © 2011 Frances Rice and Adhip Rawal. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper aims to highlight ways in which basic research findings in the field of childhood and adolescent depression can help to inform and refine preventive intervention efforts. We selectively review basic research evidence from community, clinical, and high-risk populations that identifies cognitive mechanisms (thought processes and reactions to negative affect) and emotional regulation as key processes involved in the onset and maintenance of depression. We focus on cognitive and emotional mechanisms in order to allow comparability with the majority of current preventive interventions. A range of basic research strategies and studies are then suggested that could be employed to help the development and refinement of prevention strategies. These include the need for prospective longitudinal studies to identify causal risk and protective factors, an integration of research approaches and methods, and a focus on understanding potential aetiological heterogeneity between childhood and adolescent depression.