Construction and content
Identification and selection of studies
Databases and Trial registers:
Titles and abstracts
First search Published before May 2015
Updated May 2015–April 2017
Web of Science
Netherlands (Trial Register)
World Health Organization (ICTRP)
USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Total (trial registers)
Inclusion of studies
Characteristics of participants
Population: In this column, the targeted population, such as children (aged 6–12 years) or adolescents (aged 13–18 years) in general, adolescents with treatment-resistant depression or adolescents with substance use disorder, is described in each trial.
Setting: This column indicates whether outpatients or inpatients were recruited for the study.
Diagnostic criteria: Here, we report the diagnostic criteria used for the diagnosis of depressive disorder in children and adolescents.
Type of depression: In this column, we describe the types of depression included (major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, depressive disorder not otherwise specified, minor depression, etc.) and the proportion of patients with each type in the study.
Age: Participants’ age is reported here, with the range and mean presented in two columns.
Sex: Here, we report the proportion of participants who are female.
Comorbidity: This column describes the types of psychiatric comorbidity of participants, and if available, the proportion of participants in each comorbidity is also reported.
Characteristics of treatment conditions
Conditions: Here, we briefly describe all the conditions examined in each trial. This column provides an overall impression of the group assignment in each trial.
General: Here, for each trial, we describe the general information about every condition included. In the ‘Type’ column, we describe the general types of conditions, such as pharmacotherapy, psychotherapy, combined therapy or control condition. In the ‘N baseline’ column, we report the number of participants randomly assigned to each condition.
Pharmacotherapy: In these columns, we describe the name, class (such as SSRI, SNRI, TCA or NaSSA) and dose range of the antidepressants used in the condition of pharmacotherapy or combined therapy.
Psychotherapy: In these columns, we describe the characteristics of the psychotherapies used in the condition of psychotherapy or combined therapy. The ‘Type’ column refers to the type of psychotherapy (cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, family therapy, etc.) . The ‘Format’ column indicates the format used in the psychotherapy (e.g. individual therapy, group therapy, bibliotherapy or Internet-assisted therapy). In the ‘Number of sessions’ column, we report the number of psychotherapy sessions.
Sponsor: Here, we indicate the sponsor of the trial, which may include pharmaceutical industries and non-profit organisations.
Country: In this column, we report the country where the trial was conducted.
Number of sites: This column report the number of sites in each trial.
Blinding: The blinding method used in each trial is indicated in this column, including ‘Double-blind’, ‘Single-blind’ and ‘Non-blind’.
Sample size: This column refers to the total number of randomly assigned participants in each trial.
Treatment duration: In this column, the total treatment duration is reported. If a trial conducted extension treatment, we also indicate the acute treatment duration.
Depression scales: In this column, we report the main depression measurement scales that the study used to measure depressive symptom severity.
Other scales: Here, we report other important scales used in each trial.
Primary outcome measure: This column indicates what was used as the primary outcome measure in each trial.
Side-effect monitoring: In this column, the method of side-effect monitoring in each trial is briefly descript as ‘spontaneous’, ‘unstructured’, ‘structured’, and ‘measured with ...’.