Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Beth Russell; Rachel Tambling; Ronald Sabatelli

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Co-occurring disorders of substance use and mental health conditions occur in about 75% of adolescents, with depression ranked as the second most common co-occurring disorder, in 20-30% of adolescents (Hersh et al., 2014; Shrier et al., 2003). Contextual factors (i.e. parental substance use and DCF involvement) put adolescents at increased risk of substance use initiation and co-morbid depression (Clark et al., 2005; Walden et al., 2007). Results from the current literature are undetermined on how to best address co-occurring substance use disorders (SUD) and mental health diagnoses in adolescents. Researchers sought to do this in the current study through a mindfulness-based coping skills intervention, with a sample that included 57 participants, 27 in a recovery high school (RHS), and 29 non-treated comparison participants. The RHS participants engaged in a six-week mindfulness-based coping skills intervention aimed at reducing depression symptomology and emotion dysregulation. Assessments were completed at weeks one and six for RHS participants and at a single assessment time for the non-treated comparison participants. Results showed reduced depression symptomology for the sample as a whole for those indicating parental substance use and DCF involvement. RHS participants indicated high levels of depression above the clinical cut off compared to the non-treated comparison group at the initial assessment and following the six-week intervention. However, RHS participants demonstrated significantly reduced depression symptomology following the six-week mindfulness-based intervention. The current study has treatment implications for reducing depression symptomology via mindfulness-based interventions for youth in early SUD recovery who indicate parental substance use and DCF involvement.

Major Advisor

Beth Russell