PRC projects will develop and test selective and indicated prevention strategies across three domains of vulnerability to major depression in later life: changes in physical health (especially those that entail loss of independence), depletion of psychosocial resources, and increasing cognitive impairments. Each of the three pilot prevention trials has been designed to address multiple areas of vulnerability. The PRC methods development project will utilize data from all three prevention trials to model longitudinal trajectories of risk (clinical, psychosocial, biological) in the service of (1) developing on-target (personalized), on-time risk reduction strategies and (2) better understanding moderators and mediators of depression prevention in older adults. The methods development work in "dynamic" (that is, longitudinal and updatable) risk assessment will be fed back to the prevention pilot studies as they developing into ROIs, allowing them to test for ways of enhancing the efficiency and impact of risk-reduction strategies in vulnerable older adults. The three prevention trials encompass a range of learning-based interventions that are structured but tailored to be responsive to individual participant needs: enhancing problem solving skills, improving sleep quality, exercise, CBT-based approaches to pain, and conjointly intervening with both care recipient and caregiver. The ensemble of PRC projects address the mandate in the NIMH Strategic Plan (2.3) "to develop and test innovative interventions to reduce risk and positively alter trajectories of illness." Two of the PRC study Pis qualify for the NIH designation of "Early Stage Investigator": Karp and Thompson. As noted in the Administrative Unit of the Operations Core (Page 128), the Center will also fund competitive, peer-reviewed seed money and small awards as a further strategy for supporting research career development activity in depression prevention. We will target projects from Early Stage Investigators that propose to test biological mediators and moderators of depression prevention. For example, projects testing depression prophylaxis via exercise in the post-stroke patient and protecting sleep in patients exposed to depressogenic interventions such as interferon alpha, exemplify opportunities to further examine psychobiological mechanisms of depression prophylaxis.

Public Health Relevance

PHR The Principal Research Core will support three depression prevention trials and one methods development project. The prevention trials will enroll a total of 450 older adults with physical, cognitive, and psychosocial vulnerabilities to depression, testing the ability of learning-based interventions to protect from depression;while the methods development project, using data pooled across each of these trials, will develop practical ways to help clinicians apply preventive interventions in an on-target, on-time way to maximize efficiency.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Center Core Grants (P30)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-F)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Pittsburgh
United States
Zip Code
Monin, Joan K; Schulz, Richard; Feeney, Brooke C (2015) Compassionate Love in Individuals With Alzheimer's Disease and Their Spousal Caregivers: Associations With Caregivers' Psychological Health. Gerontologist 55:981-9
Skidmore, Elizabeth R; Dawson, Deirdre R; Butters, Meryl A et al. (2015) Strategy Training Shows Promise for Addressing Disability in the First 6 Months After Stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair 29:668-76
Richard-Devantoy, St├ęphane; Szanto, Katalin; Butters, Meryl A et al. (2015) Cognitive inhibition in older high-lethality suicide attempters. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 30:274-83
Schenker, Yael; Dew, Mary Amanda; Reynolds, Charles F et al. (2015) Development of a post-intensive care unit storytelling intervention for surrogates involved in decisions to limit life-sustaining treatment. Palliat Support Care 13:451-63
Gildengers, Ariel G; Butters, Meryl A; Aizenstein, Howard J et al. (2015) Longer lithium exposure is associated with better white matter integrity in older adults with bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disord 17:248-56
Jimenez, Daniel E; Begley, Amy; Bartels, Stephen J et al. (2015) Improving health-related quality of life in older African American and non-Latino White patients. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 23:548-58
Rodakowski, Juleen; Skidmore, Elizabeth R; Reynolds 3rd, Charles F et al. (2014) Can performance on daily activities discriminate between older adults with normal cognitive function and those with mild cognitive impairment? J Am Geriatr Soc 62:1347-52
Diniz, Breno Satler; Reynolds 3rd, Charles F; Begley, Amy et al. (2014) Brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in late-life depression and comorbid mild cognitive impairment: a longitudinal study. J Psychiatr Res 49:96-101
Spira, Adam P; Kaufmann, Christopher N; Kasper, Judith D et al. (2014) Association between insomnia symptoms and functional status in U.S. older adults. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci 69 Suppl 1:S35-41
Koenig, Aaron M; Butters, Meryl A; Begley, Amy et al. (2014) Response to antidepressant medications in late-life depression across the spectrum of cognitive functioning. J Clin Psychiatry 75:e100-7

Showing the most recent 10 out of 53 publications