Efficacy of Mentalization-Based Group Therapy for Adolescents: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial
Background: Suicide is the leading cause of death in adolescents. Furthermore, up to one quarter of adolescents who self-harm will repeat self-harm within one year, highlighting the need for evidence-based prevention and treatment services. Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT) has yielded promising outcomes for individuals who self-harm, however to date only one study has examined MBT in adolescents, wherein the treatment protocol consisted of individual and family therapy. Currently, there has been no development or examination of MBT-A in a group format for adolescents.
Methods/Design: The present study is a randomised controlled single blind feasibility trial that aims to (1) adapt the original explicit MBT introductory group manual for an adolescent population (MBT-Ai) and to (2) assess the feasibility of MBT-Ai through examination of consent rates, attendance, attrition and self-harm. Participants are adolescents presenting to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) with self-harming behaviors within the last 6 months. Young people will be randomised to a 12-week MBT-Ai group plus treatment as usual (TAU) or TAU alone. Participants will be assessed at baseline and at 12-, 24- and 36-weeks post-baseline.
Discussion: This paper describes the development of a treatment manual and the protocol of a randomised controlled feasibility trial of MBT-Ai aimed at treating adolescents who self-harm. Further investigation of a full-scale trial will be necessary to instill benefits if pilot results suggest efficacy.
Trial registration: NCT02771691
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