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The PIPA Trial has now closed to recruitment.


Key information


An online Parenting Intervention to Prevent affective disorders in high-risk Adolescents: The PIPA Trial

Trial Video:

Chief Investigator:

Professor Andrew Thompson


Depression and anxiety have a very large impact on the health and wellbeing of young people. For many people, they first start in early adolescence, so efforts to intervene early or to try to prevent depression and anxiety in this age group are extremely important. Researchers have tried to design ways to improve adolescent mental health by working with young people directly; but approaches that target the parents or carers to try to address parenting skills also appear to reduce depression and anxiety in their adolescent children, both in the short and long term.

We are working with colleagues at Monash University in Australia who have developed a set of parenting guidelines recommending parenting strategies that are supported by the best available evidence. Previously, they have showed that teaching these strategies to parents using an innovative online programme, tailored to their needs, reduced levels of depression in their teenager.

In this study we want to adapt the Australian version of this online intervention to make it appropriate and relevant for parents and young people in the UK. In the PIPA study, we plan to test whether the adapted UK personalised programme is better than a comparison standard educational package in reducing depression and anxiety in young people. We will work with schools from the UK to recruit parents and carers of young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties. We will also invite young people to participate in the study. Families can also sign up to the trial direct from the community.

Participants involved in the trial will be randomly allocated to receive either the personalised programme, with up to 9 modules delivered weekly, or a standard educational package in which parents receive 5 weekly online factsheets about adolescent development. We will measure the levels of depression and anxiety in the young people before and after the parents complete the intervention and then 12 months later. We will also be looking at young people’s ability to regulate emotion and their quality of life.

This research is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) under the Grants for Public Health Research [project number: 17/04/34]. The views expressed in this video are those of the trial team and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Sample size:

433 families

Primary outcome:

To evaluate the effect of the personalised programme on severity of depressive symptoms in young people at high-risk of developing affective disorders.


5.5 years


University of Warwick

Registration Number:


Funder: NIHR


Useful Documents:

Information Sheet for Parents/Carers

Information Sheet for Young People

School FAQs

Participant FAQs


Please direct all enquiries to the PIPA team;

Kerry Raynes: Trial Manager

Nicole De Valliere: Research Associate