Bridging the Gap of Feasibility and Practicality in the Malaysian Context: Preliminary Single Cohort School-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Cbt) Intervention
Saw Jo Anne, Tam Cai Lian, Vanlal Thanzami, Gregory Bonn, Saw Tiong Guan, Suthahar Ariaratnam
Objective: The onset of symptomatology in depression many a time occurs in adolescence. Although the symptoms of depression frequently appear during adolescence, the delays in detection often happen among young individuals due to the covert and internalizing nature of depression, self-embarrassments, attempts to conceal symptoms, and possibly due to poor insight. Cuijpers et al. (2006) demonstrated that early intervention especially in school will reduce the burden of disease later and yield better prognosis. Therefore, this study is aimed to evaluate the preliminary feasibility and practicality of a validated school-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) intervention program among Malaysian secondary school students who exhibits elevated depressive symptoms. Methods: A locally adapted and contextualized school-based CBT module for use with secondary school students having depressive symptoms was conducted via a single cohort study. The 8-session weekly CBT intervention was conducted among 10 (ten) Malaysian secondary school students (mean age=16) who reported elevated levels of depressive symptoms on a screening survey (N=98) via group approach. Results: The application of the validated school-based CBT module was associated with lower levels of depressive symptoms and negative automatic thoughts among the students who were observed through the repeated measures and this was sustained until 1-month follow up period. Conclusion: This study answered the feasibility and practicality of the execution of a clinically-based therapy as a school-based intervention. Furthermore, this study contributes greatly as a baseline evidence for future research in school-based intervention for Malaysian adolescents.