Improving Mood with Psychoanalytic and Cognitive Therapies - My Experience (IMPACT-ME)

  • Research Project Team

    • Dr Nick Midgley,
    • Professor Mary Target,
    • Sally Parkinson,
    • Danny Isaacs,
    • Emily Stapley


  • Background

    The IMPACT study is a large clinical trial of psychological treatment for adolescent depression.

    IMPACT-My Experience (IMPACT-ME) is drawing on this unique opportunity to explore the experience of young people and families taking part in the trial.

    IMPACT-ME is a qualitative, longitudinal study following up a sub-sample of families involved in IMPACT.

  • Aims

    IMPACT-ME aims to explore the process of overcoming severe depression as experienced by adolescents and their families receiving psychological therapies.

    We are including the perspectives of adolescents, families and therapists in order to gain a better understanding of the process of overcoming depression and what factors help or hinder recovery.

  • Methodology

    All families taking part in the IMPACT trial in North London were invited to take part in the IMPACT-ME study.

    Qualitative, semi-structured interviews were carried out with young people and parents at three time points (for full details of the design of the study, see Midgley, Ansaldo & Target, 2014).

    77 young people and 43 parents were interviewed pre-therapy, 81 young people and 53 parents were interviewed post-therapy, and 91 young people and 57 parents one year later.

    Therapists were also invited to take part in IMPACT-ME, and 76 therapist interviews have been conducted. We also have an active service users group, IMPACT-US, who have been advisors in various aspects of the project, including dissemination of our findings.

  • Results

    We have published research on young people’s expectations of therapy, experiences of therapy and parents’ experiences of parenting an adolescent with depression (Midgley, Holmes, Parkinson, Stapley, Eatough & Target, 2014; Midgley, Parkinson, Holmes, Stapley, Eatough & Target, 2015; Stapley, Midgley & Target, 2015). We are currently preparing papers for publication on how adolescents make sense of their depression and adolescents’ experiences of taking part in a Randomised Controlled Trial. We hope these findings to be published in the coming months. Work is currently underway to understand why adolescents stop going to therapy.

    The IMPACT-ME team worked with a group of young people and parents who had taken part in the IMPACT-ME study, to create short films about their experiences of depression. Facing Shadows is a short, animated film about adolescents’ experiences of depression and getting help. Journey Through the Shadows is a short film about living with a child who suffers from depression, and three parents’ journeys towards getting help. We also created a Behind the Scenes film, which shows how the films were made. These films are available to watch on YouTube (see links below).

    For more details about the work being carried out on the parents’ perspectives on the IMPACT-ME study, please refer to Emily Stapley's PhD project.