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      A school-based program to prevent depressive symptoms and strengthen well-being among pre-vocational students (Happy Lessons): protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial and implementation study


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          Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among young people. In the Netherlands, one in twelve Dutch adolescents has experienced depression in the last 12 months. Pre-vocational students are at higher risk for elevated depressive symptoms. Effective interventions, especially for this risk group, are therefore needed to prevent the onset of depression or mitigate the adverse long-term effects of depression. The aim of this study is to examine the effectiveness and implementation of a school-based program Happy Lessons (HL), that aims to prevent depression and promote well-being among pre-vocational students .


          A cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) with students randomized to HL or to care as usual will be conducted. Pre-vocational students in their first or second year (aged 12 to 14) will participate in the study. Subjects in both conditions will complete assessments at baseline and at 3- and 6-months follow-up. The primary outcome will be depressive symptoms using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) at 6-months follow-up. Secondary outcomes are well-being using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS) and life satisfaction (Cantril Ladder) measured at 6-months follow-up. Alongside the trial, an implementation study will be conducted to evaluate the implementation of HL, using both quantitative and qualitative methods (interviews, survey, and classroom observations).


          The results from both the RCT and implementation study will contribute to the limited evidence base on effective school-based interventions for the prevention of depression and promotion of well-being among pre-vocational adolescents. In addition, insights from the implementation study will aid identifying factors relevant for optimizing the future implementation and scale-up of HL to other schools and contexts.

          Trial registration

          This study was registered on 20 September 2021 in the Dutch Trial Register ( NL9732).

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s12889-021-12321-3.

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          Most cited references53

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          Outcomes for Implementation Research: Conceptual Distinctions, Measurement Challenges, and Research Agenda

          An unresolved issue in the field of implementation research is how to conceptualize and evaluate successful implementation. This paper advances the concept of “implementation outcomes” distinct from service system and clinical treatment outcomes. This paper proposes a heuristic, working “taxonomy” of eight conceptually distinct implementation outcomes—acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, feasibility, fidelity, implementation cost, penetration, and sustainability—along with their nominal definitions. We propose a two-pronged agenda for research on implementation outcomes. Conceptualizing and measuring implementation outcomes will advance understanding of implementation processes, enhance efficiency in implementation research, and pave the way for studies of the comparative effectiveness of implementation strategies.
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            The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS): development and UK validation

            Background There is increasing international interest in the concept of mental well-being and its contribution to all aspects of human life. Demand for instruments to monitor mental well-being at a population level and evaluate mental health promotion initiatives is growing. This article describes the development and validation of a new scale, comprised only of positively worded items relating to different aspects of positive mental health: the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS). Methods WEMWBS was developed by an expert panel drawing on current academic literature, qualitative research with focus groups, and psychometric testing of an existing scale. It was validated on a student and representative population sample. Content validity was assessed by reviewing the frequency of complete responses and the distribution of responses to each item. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the hypothesis that the scale measured a single construct. Internal consistency was assessed using Cronbach's alpha. Criterion validity was explored in terms of correlations between WEMWBS and other scales and by testing whether the scale discriminated between population groups in line with pre-specified hypotheses. Test-retest reliability was assessed at one week using intra-class correlation coefficients. Susceptibility to bias was measured using the Balanced Inventory of Desired Responding. Results WEMWBS showed good content validity. Confirmatory factor analysis supported the single factor hypothesis. A Cronbach's alpha score of 0.89 (student sample) and 0.91 (population sample) suggests some item redundancy in the scale. WEMWBS showed high correlations with other mental health and well-being scales and lower correlations with scales measuring overall health. Its distribution was near normal and the scale did not show ceiling effects in a population sample. It discriminated between population groups in a way that is largely consistent with the results of other population surveys. Test-retest reliability at one week was high (0.83). Social desirability bias was lower or similar to that of other comparable scales. Conclusion WEMWBS is a measure of mental well-being focusing entirely on positive aspects of mental health. As a short and psychometrically robust scale, with no ceiling effects in a population sample, it offers promise as a tool for monitoring mental well-being at a population level. Whilst WEMWBS should appeal to those evaluating mental health promotion initiatives, it is important that the scale's sensitivity to change is established before it is recommended in this context.
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              Global burden of disease in young people aged 10-24 years: a systematic analysis.

              Young people aged 10-24 years represent 27% of the world's population. Although important health problems and risk factors for disease in later life emerge in these years, the contribution to the global burden of disease is unknown. We describe the global burden of disease arising in young people and the contribution of risk factors to that burden. We used data from WHO's 2004 Global Burden of Disease study. Cause-specific disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for young people aged 10-24 years were estimated by WHO region on the basis of available data for incidence, prevalence, severity, and mortality. WHO member states were classified into low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries, and into WHO regions. We estimated DALYs attributable to specific global health risk factors using the comparative risk assessment method. DALYs were divided into years of life lost because of premature mortality (YLLs) and years lost because of disability (YLDs), and are presented for regions by sex and by 5-year age groups. The total number of incident DALYs in those aged 10-24 years was about 236 million, representing 15·5% of total DALYs for all age groups. Africa had the highest rate of DALYs for this age group, which was 2·5 times greater than in high-income countries (208 vs 82 DALYs per 1000 population). Across regions, DALY rates were 12% higher in girls than in boys between 15 and 19 years (137 vs 153). Worldwide, the three main causes of YLDs for 10-24-year-olds were neuropsychiatric disorders (45%), unintentional injuries (12%), and infectious and parasitic diseases (10%). The main risk factors for incident DALYs in 10-24-year-olds were alcohol (7% of DALYs), unsafe sex (4%), iron deficiency (3%), lack of contraception (2%), and illicit drug use (2%). The health of young people has been largely neglected in global public health because this age group is perceived as healthy. However, opportunities for prevention of disease and injury in this age group are not fully exploited. The findings from this study suggest that adolescent health would benefit from increased public health attention. None. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                20 January 2022
                20 January 2022
                : 22
                : 139
                [1 ]GRID grid.416017.5, ISNI 0000 0001 0835 8259, Trimbos Institute, Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, ; Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [2 ]GRID grid.5477.1, ISNI 0000000120346234, Department of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, , Utrecht University, ; Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [3 ]GRID grid.6214.1, ISNI 0000 0004 0399 8953, Department of Psychology, Health, and Technology, , Faculty of Behavioral, Management, and Social Sciences, University of Twente, ; Enschede, The Netherlands
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2022

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                : 17 November 2021
                : 26 November 2021
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001826, ZonMw;
                Award ID: 555002019
                Study Protocol
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                Public health
                depression prevention,well-being promotion,adolescents,pre-vocational,school-based intervention,integrated universal and indicated prevention


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