Family-focused therapy (FFT) is associated with reduced rates of mood episodes among youth at high risk for bipolar disorder (BD). In a randomized trial of FFT compared to a psychoeducation-only treatment (enhanced care, EC), we sought to determine if changes in psychosocial functioning mediate mood improvements among high-risk youth.119 youths with active mood symptoms and a family history of BD were randomized to either 4 months of FFT or EC. Participants were rated on mood symptom severity and provided self-ratings of psychosocial functioning across domains of family, social-emotional, and school functioning. Repeated measures mixed modeling and bootstrapped mediational analyses evaluated the effects of treatment conditions and psychosocial functioning on mood improvements immediately posttreatment and over 2 years of follow-up.Youths in FFT reported greater improvements in family functioning over 24 months compared to those in EC, F(5, 76.8) = 3.1, p < .05. Improvements in family functioning partially mediated participants' improvements in depressive symptoms, B = -0.22, p < .01; 95% CI [-0.55, -0.02]. The effects of FFT versus EC on family functioning were stronger among youth with comorbid anxiety and externalizing disorders than among youth without these comorbid disorders.The findings suggest a temporal link between changes in youths' perceptions of family functioning and improvements in depressive symptoms among high-risk youth in FFT. Family conflict and cohesion are important treatment targets for youth who present with early signs of BD. Future studies should examine whether changes in observational measures of family interaction precede improvements in mood among high-risk youth. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
View details for DOI 10.1037/ccp0000708
View details for Web of Science ID 000746937000001
View details for PubMedID 35084893