Depression Prevention Course (Muñoz 1984)

This course was used in the first randomized control trial designed to test whether major depressive episodes could be prevented (Muñoz & Ying, 1993 – link).  The study, called the San Francisco Depression Prevention Research Project, was awarded the 1994 Leland Rowland Prevention Award by the National Mental Health Association. 

The Depression Prevention Course is intended as a preventive educational experience, not as therapy.  The participants are students, not patients.  We believe this reduces the stigma that is often related to receiving therapy in many communities.  The course consists of 8 sessions, intended to take place once a week for 8 weeks.  The student manuals are available on this site in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese.  They have also been translated into several other languages (Dutch, Finnish, German, Korean, and Norwegian.)

The course is intended to be used by individuals at risk for depression but not yet meeting full criteria for major depression.  The course teaches methods to gain greater control over one’s mood by using methods developed in the treatment of depression, and teaching them to individuals before they need treatment to prevent their crossing the threshold into a major depression.  This book was itself based on a randomized controlled trial which tested three methods to treat depression: increasing pleasant activities, social skills training, and cognitive approaches.  The theoretical framework on which these methods were based was social learning theory (Bandura, 1977).  The cognitive behavioral methods used in the 8 lessons are based on the work of Peter Lewinsohn (Lewinsohn, Muñoz, Youngren, & Zeiss, 1978, 1992 – LINK).

Suggested Citation: 

Muñoz, R. F. (1984).  The Depression Prevention Course.  Retrieved August 3, 2008, from University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital Latino Mental Health Research Program Web site: 


Instructor Manual (Available only in English)

InstRuctor Manual 


Participant Manuals