This Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23) outlines a 5 year training program that supports the candidate's goal to become an independent investigator in early detection and prevention of mood disorders, with special application to adolescent offspring of bipolar parents. Epidemiologic and family studies have shown that parental history of bipolar disorder is a primary risk factor for mood disorders (bipolar spectrum as well as unipolar depression), which tend to rise in presentation shortly before and during adolescence. Although these high-risk adolescents represent a likely target of preventive efforts, there is a paucity of such controlled trials published to date. Dr. Verdeli plans to achieve her goal of becoming an expert in diagnosis and prevention in symptomatic children of bipolar parents by (1) refining her understanding of pathways to adaptive and maladaptive developmental outcomes for this high-risk population; (2) broadening her knowledge of prodromal depressive and bipolar symptoms in adolescents; (3) acquiring advanced skills in design, implementation and analysis of randomized clinical trials for prevention with adolescents; and (4) adapting for prevention research with adolescents components of Interpersonal Psychotherapy (1PT) and Family Focused Therapy (FFT)- two treatments that have shown efficacy for unipolar depression and bipolar disorder- in a developmentally sensitive manner ((addressing the issues of early vs. late adolescence). ? ? The candidate will develop these skills and areas of expertise through three mechanisms: education through formal coursework and seminars in implementation of clinical trials; in developmental psychopathology, psychiatric epidemiology and risk factor research; and in advanced training in adolescent applications of lPT and FFT; mentorship, consultation and supervision by national experts in psychotherapy research, prevention science, epidemiological high-risk studies, developmental psychopathology, and bipolar disorder research; and a pilot randomized controlled trial comparing IPT enhanced with FFT techniques to education and clinical monitoring for adolescent children of bipolar parents, who exhibit subsyndromal mood symptomatology. The intervention aims to attenuate the adolescents' symptoms, regulate their sleep and daily routines if needed, and ameliorate their functioning. This study will inform and provide effect sizes for a larger and more definitive study to be proposed as an R01 during the award period. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Avenevoli, Shelli A
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Columbia University (N.Y.)
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
Zip Code
Teel, Karen Shoum; Verdeli, Helen; Wickramaratne, Priya et al. (2016) Impact of a Father Figure's Presence in the Household on Children's Psychiatric Diagnoses and Functioning in Families at High Risk for Depression. J Child Fam Stud 25:588-597
Lewandowski, R Eric; Verdeli, Helen; Wickramaratne, Priya et al. (2014) Predictors of Positive Outcomes in Offspring of Depressed Parents and Non-depressed Parents Across 20 Years. J Child Fam Stud 23:800-811
Weissman, Myrna; Verdeli, Helen (2012) Interpersonal psychotherapy: evaluation, support, triage. Clin Psychol Psychother 19:106-12
Patel, Vikram; Chowdhary, Neerja; Rahman, Atif et al. (2011) Improving access to psychological treatments: lessons from developing countries. Behav Res Ther 49:523-8
Verdeli, Helen; Baily, Charles; Vousoura, Eleni et al. (2011) The case for treating depression in military spouses. J Fam Psychol 25:488-96