The proposed research and training plan aims to create and pilot an innovative Internet-based intervention and equip the applicant with skills and resources to pursue a line of research that develops and evaluates web- based programs for the prevention of depression. Current prevention programs have been shown to reduce the incidence of new episodes of major depression but have major limitations. Existing programs could be improved by expanding their scope to include promotion of well-being and healthy mood states, and widening their influence by using scalable technology to serve those who are currently beyond the reach of mental health systems. The use of the Internet to disseminate psychological interventions is expanding. Training researchers to properly use this powerful tool will enhance the future of the mental health field. The applicant proposes to combine prior training in positive psychology and cognitive-behavioral strategies with the resources and expertise provided by the sponsor to create and pilot a combined cognitive-behavioral and positive psychology web-based prevention intervention. The sponsor, Dr. Ricardo Muqoz is an expert in depression prevention and Internet-based interventions and founder of the Internet World Health Research Center (IWHRC). The IWHRC was triggered by work conducted by Dr. Muqoz and the University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital Latino Mental Health Research Program to test whether randomized controlled trials could be conducted via the web. These resources provide the perfect opportunity for the applicant to complete the proposed research and training plan and achieve the following three aims designed to set the stage for his career as a clinical researcher with expertise in outcome trials designed to create evidence-based Internet interventions:
Aim 1 : To create and pilot test an Internet-based combined cognitive-behavioral and positive psychology intervention for the prevention of depression.
Aim 2 : To examine perceived benefits to the additional positive psychology components including increasing adherence to, enjoyment of, and preference for the Internet intervention.
Aim 3 : To provide skills needed to create, evaluate, and disseminate Internet-based interventions. This application provides the applicant with the technical knowledge and research experience necessary to launch a career as a clinical researcher of Internet-based interventions. A promotion focused approach emphasizing positive emotions might increase engagement and thus adherence to the intervention techniques. The Internet provides a highly innovative means of delivering preventive mental health services for undertreated and underserved populations. An online intervention of this type has the potential to reach millions of individuals. Use of the Internet in intervention research is cutting-edge;providing the applicant with the skills and training at this early stage will prepare him for a successful research career.

Public Health Relevance

Depression affects about 121 million people worldwide and approximately 1 in every 15 individuals in the US will experience an episode of major depressive disorder each year. Interventions can prevent depression by teaching strategies that overcome predisposing cognitions and behaviors and promote well-being. Internet interventions based on these techniques can increase access and reduce cost of mental health services by providing effective strategies, 24 hours a day, anywhere people have Internet access.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Postdoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F11-L (20))
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Otey, Emeline M
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University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
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Schueller, Stephen M; Leykin, Yan; Pérez-Stable, Eliseo J et al. (2013) Selection of intervention components in an internet stop smoking participant preference trial: beyond randomized controlled trials. Psychiatry Res 205:159-64
Schueller, Stephen M; Pérez-Stable, Eliseo J; Muñoz, Ricardo F (2013) A Mood Management Intervention in an Internet Stop Smoking Randomized Controlled Trial Does Not Prevent Depression: A Cautionary Tale. Clin Psychol Sci 1:401-412