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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 27, 2016

Cultural considerations for the adaptation of an Internet-based intervention for depression prevention in Mainland China

  • Unnati Patel , Kunmi Sobowale , Jingyi Fan , Nina Liu , Sachiko Kuwabara , Zhang Lei , Renslow Sherer and Benjamin Van Voorhees EMAIL logo


Internet-based interventions to prevent depression during adolescence have been implemented in Western countries, but there is a lack of research about its adaptation for use in other countries. Project Competent Adulthood Transition with Cognitive-Behavioral, Humanistic and Interpersonal Training (CATCH-IT) is an Internet-based intervention targeting teens at risk for developing depression. This study explored cultural adaptation of the intervention for use in Mainland China. A pilot study using the English version of CATCH-IT was conducted in Wuhan, China, with adolescents from the Wuhan School of Medicine in 2013. Participants completed a feedback survey to evaluate the format and socio-cultural relevance for each component of the intervention. Twenty students were surveyed (age range 19–23 years). In 2014, Chinese physicians evaluated CATCH-IT and completed a feedback questionnaire. Data obtained were collected and analyzed for recurrent themes. Both groups recommended new modules focusing on Chinese-relevant themes like pressure for academic excellence, filial piety, and balancing school and social life. Physicians agreed to retain the cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and behavioral activation (BA) modules, and were split on the use of interpersonal therapy (IPT). All experts recommended translation of the content into Mandarin and a majority suggested interactive features and less text. All agreed the Internet serves well as a delivery model; however, dissemination through schools was preferred. The results support cultural adaptation of basic facets of the intervention like language and visuals, and also deeper aspects like IPT and the delivery model. Development of an adaptation should build upon the findings from this study and work to maintain fidelity.

Corresponding author: Benjamin Van Voorhees, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, 840 South Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612, USA, E-mail:


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Received: 2015-10-6
Accepted: 2016-1-14
Published Online: 2016-2-27

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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