Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) is the only empirically supported family therapy model designed to treat adolescent depression, including those at risk for suicide, and their families. ABFT aims to repair interpersonal ruptures and rebuild an emotionally protective parent-child relationship. To study the effectiveness of ABFT compared with Treatment as Usual (TAU) in reducing suicidal ideation in clinically depressed adolescents. Sixty adolescents (86.7% girls), aged 13 to 18 years ( M = 14.9), with major depressive disorder referred to two CAMHS were randomized to receive 16 weeks of ABFT or TAU. ABFT consisted of weekly therapy sessions according to the treatment manual. Suicidal ideation was measured with the Suicidal Ideation Questionnaire-Junior at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 weeks. Linear mixed models were fitted to test our hypothesis, time was the only factor to have a significant effect on suicidal ideation t(31.05) = −3.32, p < .01. Participants in both treatment groups reported significantly reduced suicidal ideation, but the majority were still in the clinical range after 16 weeks of treatment. ABFT was not associated with more favorable outcomes than TAU. Findings must be interpreted with caution given the study limitations.
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