Research is another key component to our commitment to improving the lives of children and adolescents with severe mental illnesses. We foster a wide and growing range of investigations. Basic genetic and neuroscience research focuses on how the normal brain develops and why and how that development sometimes goes awry. Our clinical researchers are seeking to develop better tools for early, precise diagnoses of major psychiatric disorders and to establish effective prevention and treatment interventions that are developmentally appropriate for the specific needs of the child or adolescent. Such research enriches both our training programs and our clinical care, ensuring that our trainees are familiar with the most recent advances in the field and enabling us to offer innovative treatments to patients who previously have responded poorly to more traditional interventions.
Research at the Young Adult and Family Center
The Young Adult and Family Center at UCSF has developed innovative clinical programs to provide services to adolescents in need. We are committed to evaluating how treatment enhances competence and skill, as well as reduces symptoms. The focus of our clinical interventions extends beyond the adolescent as an individual. Consistent with this emphasis, in our research program, we are assessing outcomes at the adolescent, parent, and family level.
Family Therapy Program Evaluation
As part of the Young Adult and Family Center, the Intensive Family Therapy Program (IFT) is designed to serve children, adolescents and their families, who are experiencing difficult challenges that may be interfering with school performance, life at home, health and safety, or community functioning. The goal of IFT to help families feel more connected and competent, and to better balance multiple stressors. Research regarding the efficacy of the Intensive Family Therapy Program is supported by funding from the Mental Insight Foundation.
Eating Disorder Clinic Research
A joint program between Psychiatry and Adolescent Medicine/Pediatrics, the Eating Disorder Clinic and Program aims to (I) improve clinical care through providing evidence-based clinical services delivered by a multi-disciplinary professional team, (II) offer specialized training experiences with comprehensive interdisciplinary education, and (III) promote innovative research.
State-of-the-art evidence based practice protocols are being established for each disciplinary area (medicine, mental health, nutrition etc.). This will allow us to develop an evaluation system to closely follow patient progress and assess patient/family outcomes.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy - Adolescent (DBT-A) Program Evaluation
An evidence-based treatment program for depression and anxiety disorders, Dialectical Behavior Therapy is partially based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as it explores the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and teaches adolescents how to change negative feelings into positive ones by changing core thoughts and beliefs about one’s self. DBT extends beyond Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by also teaching a set of skills such as mindfulness meditation and interpersonal effectiveness that enable patients to manage emotions which otherwise would be overwhelming and lead to self-destructive and/or self-defeating behaviors. DBT is especially helpful for teens who are suicidal, engage in self injurious behaviors such as cutting, abuse substances, have eating disorders, engage in unsafe sex, or are otherwise reckless or impulsive.
A study is currently being conducted to evaluate adolescent outcomes related to participation in the DBT-A Program. Adolescent research includes changes in symptoms and behaviors such as depression, self-injury, purging, risky sexual behavior and physical violence.
Adolescent Mental Health Research
Screening for Depression in Primary Care
Developing screening systems that assist with early recognition of depression and risky health behaviors has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of adolescents and their families. Since it is not possible for mental health professionals to screen, diagnose, or treat all adolescents, we need to develop more effective systems for the screening and diagnosis of depression.
Through a grant from the Staglin Family Fund, we have examined rates at which primary care providers screen teenagers for depression. Utilizing two large independent datasets to assess providers’ rates of screening for depression among a clinic-based and population-based sample in California, we found that provider rates for screening adolescents for depression were remarkably similar across both the health plan and population data set: About 1/3 of California teenagers report being screened for depression during a visit with their primary care provider. The most significant factor determining screening rates was being female, with females significantly more likely than males to be asked about their emotional health.
Within the population-based data set, over one-fourth (27%) of the adolescents endorsed emotional distress on a brief depression measure. However, only about one third of teens endorsing emotional distress reported having been screened for depression, a rate not significantly higher than the rate for screening non-distressed teens.
Research findings have been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
Young Adult and Family Center – RECENT FACULTY PUBLICATIONS
|2007|| ||Ozer, E. M. The Adolescent Primary Care Visit: Time to Build on Strengths. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41(6), 519-520. |
|2008 || ||Buckelew, S. M., Adams, S. H., Charles E. Irwin, C. E., Jr., Gee, S., Ozer, E. M. (2008). Increasing clinician self-efficacy for screening and counseling adolescents for risky health behaviors: Results of an intervention. Journal of Adolescent Health, 43, 2.|
|2008|| ||Adams, S. H., Husting, S.A., Zahnd, E., & Ozer, E. M. (2008). Adolescent preventive services: Rates and disparities in preventive health topics covered during routine Medical care in a California sample. Journal of Adolescent Health, 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.08.015|
|2009|| ||Ozer, E.M., Zahnd, E., Adams, S., Husting, S., Norman, K., Smiga, S. (in press). Are adolescents being screened for emotional distress in primary care? Journal of Adolescent Health.|
|2011|| ||Norman, K. (in press). Anxiety Disorders. Adolescent Medicine Section. In A. Rudolph, C. Rudolph, L. First, G. Listner, & A. Gershon (Eds.). Rudolph’s Pediatrics, Twenty-Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies.|
|2011|| || Norman, K. (in press). Depression. Adolescent Medicine Section. In A. Rudolph, C. Rudolph, L. First, G. Listner, & A. Gershon (Eds.). Rudolph’s Pediatrics, Twenty-Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies.|
|2011|| ||Norman, K. (in press). Disordered Eating. Adolescent Medicine Section. In A. Rudolph, C. Rudolph, L. First, G. Listner, & A. Gershon (Eds.). Rudolph’s Pediatrics, Twenty-Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies.|
|In Press || ||Ozer, E.M. (in press). Psychological Development. Adolescent Medicine Section. In A. Rudolph, C. Rudolph, L. First, G. Listner, & A. Gershon (Eds.). Rudolph’s Pediatrics, Twenty-Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies.|
|In Press || ||Irwin, C. E., Jr. & Ozer, E.M. (in press). Health Compromising Behaviors. Adolescent Medicine Section. In A. Rudolph, C. Rudolph, L. First, G. Listner, & A. Gershon. Rudolph’s Pediatrics, Twenty-Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Companies.|
|In Press|| ||Ozer, E.M. & Irwin, C.E., Jr. (in press). Adolescent and Young Adult Health: From Basic Health Status to Clinical Interventions. In R. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Individual Basis of Adolescent Development. Volume 1. Handbook of Adolescent Psychology, 3rd Edition. (pp. 618-641). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.|