Adolescent engagement in a stepped care, transdiagnostic mental health intervention delivered in Indian schools

Resham Gellatly, Maya Boustani, Pooja Nair, Rujuta Mahajan, Abhijeet Jambhale, Rooplata Sahu, Bindiya Chodankar, Madhuri Krishna, Kanika Malik, Sonal Mathur, Kimberly Becker, Daniel Michelson, Vikram Patel, Bruce Chorpita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the relationship between poor engagement and worse treatment outcomes, improving engagement has been the focus of attention in recent years. Engagement is a particular challenge among minoritized and otherwise challenged youth, such as those from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, including youth in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where they face lower levels of access to resources, including mental health treatment. The present study describes engagement challenges that arose in an uncontrolled pre-post evaluation of a school-based, modular, multi-problem, stepped-care intervention delivered in urban Indian communities. Specifically, the study aimed to (1) characterize barriers and facilitators of youth treatment engagement; and (2) evaluate treatment acceptability and fit of treatment from the youth perspective. Youth participants completed semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed and coded using thematic analysis. Participants described numerous facilitators to engagement (e.g., positive therapeutic relationship) and reported high overall satisfaction with the intervention, while also identifying barriers to engagement (e.g., concerns about confidentiality) and offering suggestions to increase fit and acceptability (e.g., more visually appealing treatment materials). Findings highlight ways in which engagement can be enhanced and implementation supports improved to maximize treatment effectiveness among minoritized and disadvantaged youth in LMICs.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s44202-024-00154-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43
JournalDiscover psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2024


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