Research knowledge among the participants in the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study (TADS)

Benedetto Vitiello, Christopher J. Kratochvil, Susan Silva, John Curry, Mark Reinecke, Sanjeev Pathak, Bruce Waslick, Carroll W. Hughes, Ernest D. Prentice, Diane E. May, John S. March

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: We examined the extent to which parents and adolescents participating in the Treatment for Adolescents With Depression Study (TADS) understood key aspects of the study. METHOD: TADS was a clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of fluoxetine, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), their combination, and placebo in 439 adolescents (12-17 years old) with major depressive disorder. Six weeks after starting treatment, adolescents and their parents were asked to complete a questionnaire about critical elements of the trial. RESULTS: Completion rate was 67.2% for adolescents (N = 295) and 73.6% for parents (N = 323). More than 90% of the completers knew of the main purpose of the trial, possible assignment to placebo, and their right to withdraw participation at any time. However, about one third overall (and 49% in the CBT group) described TADS as "education" rather than "research." Of 12 questions, the mean number of correct answers was 10.3 (SD 1.7) among adolescents and 11.2 (SD 1.2) among parents (p <.0001). The most frequently stated reason for TADS participation was the pursuit of high-quality care. CONCLUSIONS: Most parents and adolescents were well-informed research participants. Difficulties in appreciating the research nature of the trial, however, emerged, especially among participants assigned to psychotherapy. Parents were overall better informed than adolescents. Copyright 2007

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1642-1650
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Depression
  • Ethics
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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