Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research

Effectiveness of a School-Based Indicated Early Intervention Program for Maori and Pacific Adolescents

Contact: Paul Jose


Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, is acknowledged internationally as a problem of increasing concern, and is occurring at an earlier age, especially among teenagers.

Research evidence suggests that Maori and Pacific young people report higher levels of depressive symptoms than the overall sample in New Zealand.

Figures from 2002 show that young Maori males were almost three times more likely and young Maori females were twice as likely, to die by suicide than non-Maori young people (Beautrais & Fergusson, 2006).

This study evaluates the efficacy of a school-based early intervention program with Maori and Pacific adolescents experiencing depressive symptoms.


In the intervention, students were taught to more fully understand the relationships between thinking, feeling and behaviour, to challenge beliefs and to solve interpersonal problems. Students participated in eight 90-minute sessions conducted during school hours.

At the end of the study, the intervention group reported lower depressive symptoms than the group that didn’t participate in the intervention.

Discussions with groups of students highlighted that the intervention was effective. The students noted how the intervention improved their lives and made them feel better.

You can access the article "Effectiveness of a School-Based Indicated Early Intervention Program for Maori and Pacific Adolescents" here.