An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Simple Marketing Intervention in Changing Student Attitudes to Depression


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Study Location
University of Oxford
Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 3JX, United Kingdom


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Eligibility Criteria
The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.
Females and Males
Pediatric Trials: 0-17 Years
Adult Trials: 18+ Years
0 +
Inclusion Criteria
The factors, or reasons, that allow a person to participate in a clinical study.
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- Undergraduate students at Oxford University

Exclusion Criteria
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- Postgraduate students

- Students at the excluded colleges


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Advanced Information
Descriptive Information
Brief Title  ICMJE An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Simple Marketing Intervention in Changing Student Attitudes to Depression
Official Title  ICMJE A Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial to Assess the Effectiveness of a Simple Marketing Intervention in Changing Student Attitudes to Depression
Brief Summary The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a simple marketing intervention in changing attitudes towards depression and its treatment among university students.
Detailed Description

Depression is a major public health problem. It is common, affecting approximately 10 percent of the United Kingdom (UK) community at any one time. Britain's student population is particularly at risk.

Knowledge of effective treatments for depression is burgeoning thanks to a rapid increase in the quantity and quality of relevant research. Regardless of these advances, depression is still under-reported (Freeling et al., 1985) and general practitioners often fail to diagnose it.

When depression is correctly diagnosed, most patients in primary care will receive a prescription for an antidepressant. However, some patients will not have the prescription dispensed, and most will not complete the full recommended course. Compliance with psychological treatments is also a problem.

Study Design:

  • Pilot work: The intervention consisted of mailing (to each undergraduate student's pigeon-hole) a pack of 4 postcards which provided brief information on depression in an attractive format. One postcard summarised information on depression as an illness; one summarised information on the causes of depression; one summarised information on the treatment of depression; and one summarised information on how to seek help for depression. Prior to the trial, the drafts were revised through feedback from a focus group of 5 students, who discussed the design and content of the draft postcards. The focus group participants were recruited from the Queen's College, as this college did not participate in the trial. The focus group contributed to the revision of the draft questionnaire.
  • The trial: The design was a cluster, randomised, controlled trial. Individual Oxford University colleges which accept undergraduate students were the units of randomisation. Twenty-eight colleges were randomised. Permanent private halls and postgraduate colleges were excluded, as was the Queen's College (due to it being the lead investigator's college) and Harris Manchester College (a college for mature students).

Half of the randomised colleges received no intervention; the other half received the intervention.

A questionnaire was administered before and after the intervention to half of the undergraduate students in each of the colleges. The same questionnaire was used for both time points. Questions addressed knowledge of, and attitudes towards:

  • depression as an illness;
  • symptoms of depression;
  • treatment for depression;
  • sources of help for depression.
Study Type  ICMJE Interventional
Study Phase  ICMJE Not Applicable
Study Design  ICMJE Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Educational/Counseling/Training
Condition  ICMJE Depression
Intervention  ICMJE Device: Health education information
Study Arms  ICMJE Not Provided
Publications *

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Recruitment Information
Recruitment Status  ICMJE Completed
Enrollment  ICMJE
 (submitted: July 18, 2005)
Original Enrollment  ICMJE Same as current
Study Completion Date  ICMJE June 2004
Primary Completion Date Not Provided
Eligibility Criteria  ICMJE

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Undergraduate students at Oxford University

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Postgraduate students
  • Students at the excluded colleges
Sex/Gender  ICMJE
Sexes Eligible for Study:All
Ages  ICMJE Child, Adult, Older Adult
Accepts Healthy Volunteers  ICMJE Yes
Contacts  ICMJE Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
Listed Location Countries  ICMJE United Kingdom
Removed Location Countries  
Administrative Information
NCT Number  ICMJE NCT00122083
Other Study ID Numbers  ICMJE UOxford
Has Data Monitoring Committee Not Provided
U.S. FDA-regulated Product Not Provided
IPD Sharing Statement  ICMJE Not Provided
Responsible Party Not Provided
Study Sponsor  ICMJE University of Oxford
Collaborators  ICMJE
  • Pfizer
  • Wyeth is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer
Investigators  ICMJE
Principal Investigator:John GeddesUniversity of Oxford
PRS Account University of Oxford
Verification Date March 2004

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP