Adolescent Depression: An Interactive Case-Based Session for Medical Students

Publication ID Published Volume
10499 November 10, 2016 12

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This is an interactive case-based session for medical students on the clinical presentation and initial evaluation of adolescent depression. We developed this session based on an informal needs assessment at our local institution as well as prior research documenting the minimal time allocated to child and adolescent psychiatry in medical school curricula. The 80-minute interactive case-based format integrates knowledge and clinical experiences while requiring minimal equipment and preparation. The session was administered at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2015 to 22 students. Fourteen participants completed evaluation questions (64% response rate). Of responders, 92%-100% thought the session was very or extremely effective at meeting the stated objectives, was interactive, had appropriate time allocated, and was very or extremely helpful at reinforcing objectives from the medical school curriculum. Thirteen participants completed postsession knowledge acquisition questions and performed better than controls (90% vs. 75%), but the difference was not statistically significant. Other medical schools could easily administer this session as presented or adapt it to a different target audience or for different time constraints. It is an effective, interactive, well-paced, and helpful means of introducing to medical students a topic that is relevant for anyone going into pediatrics. Likewise, it helps to rectify the lack of child and adolescent psychiatry content in most medical school programs, and it aligns with the movement in undergraduate medical education towards more clinically integrated, inquiry-based curricula with attention to professional development.


Fisher H, Long M. Adolescent depression: an interactive case-based session for medical students. MedEdPORTAL Publications. 2016;12:10499.

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

By the end of this session, learners will be able to:

  1. List at least four aspects of the epidemiology, pathophysiology, or assessment of pediatric depression.
  2. List at least three ways that the presentation of pediatric depression can differ from adult depression.
  3. Describe at least one rapport-building technique for getting pediatric patients to talk about mental health.
  4. Demonstrate use of at least one rapport-building technique through a depression and suicidality assessment role-play.


  • Case-Based Learning, Pediatrics, Adolescent, Depression, Psychiatry, Preclinical


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ISSN 2374-8265