Development and Pilot Study of a Marketing Strategy for Primary Care/Internet–Based Depression Prevention Intervention for Adolescents (The CATCH-IT Intervention)



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Background: Adolescent depression is both common and burdensome, and while evidence-based strategies have been developed to prevent adolescent depression, participation in such interventions remains extremely low, with less than 3% of at-risk individuals participating. To promote participation in evidence-based preventive strategies, a rigorous marketing strategy is needed to translate research into practice.

Objective: To develop and pilot a rigorous marketing strategy for engaging at-risk individuals with an Internet-based depression prevention intervention in primary care targeting key attitudes and beliefs.

Method: A marketing design group was constituted to develop a marketing strategy based on the principles of targeting, positioning/competitor analysis, decision analysis, and promotion/distribution and incorporating contemporary models of behavior change. We evaluated the formative quality of the intervention and observed the fielding experience for prevention using a pilot study (observational) design.

Results: The marketing plan focused on “resiliency building” rather than “depression intervention” and was relayed by office staff and the Internet site. Twelve practices successfully implemented the intervention and recruited a diverse sample of adolescents with > 30% of all those with positive screens and > 80% of those eligible after phone assessment enrolling in the study with a cost of $58 per enrollee. Adolescent motivation for depression prevention (1–10 scale) increased from a baseline mean value of 7.45 (SD = 2.05) to 8.07 poststudy (SD = 1.33) (P = .048).

Conclusions: Marketing strategies for preventive interventions for mental disorders can be developed and successfully introduced and marketed in primary care.

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(3):e1–e9

Submitted: February 12, 2009; accepted May 11, 2009.

Published online: May 20, 2010.

Corresponding author: Benjamin W. Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637 (

Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 2010;12(3):e1-e9