Effect of Shamiri Layperson-Provided Intervention vs Study Skills Control Intervention for Depression and Anxiety Symptoms in Adolescents in Kenya: RCT

The Shamiri intervention shows that scalable psychological interventions that invoke simple psychological principles, rather than explicit references to psychopathology, can alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms in Kenyan adolescents.
Reduction in symptoms
Cohen d (depression) at 7-month
Cohen d (anxiety) at 7-month
Sample size

An Inexpensive Way to Address Adolescent Depression and Anxiety

The Challenge

Adolescent depression and anxiety are serious issues around the world, especially in low-resource countries such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Finding affordable, effective interventions is a critical need.

The Solution: Shamiri

An intervention named Shamiri, which involves group sessions teaching growth mindset, gratitude, and value affirmation, was developed to address this need. It was designed to be delivered by laypeople, making it accessible and cost-efficient.

The Study

A study was conducted in four secondary schools in Nairobi and Kiambu County, Kenya. Adolescents aged between 13 to 18 years, who showed elevated symptoms on standardized depression or anxiety measures, were included in the study. The study sought to determine whether the Shamiri intervention could indeed help alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms in these teenagers.

The Procedure

The adolescents were divided into two groups. One group was subjected to the Shamiri intervention and the other group was taught study skills as a control measure. Each group met for an hour every week for four weeks.

The Results

The results of the study were promising. Both the Shamiri intervention and the study skills group showed a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the Shamiri group showed a greater reduction in symptoms at different points in time after treatment.

In Conclusion

While both methods had positive effects, the inexpensive Shamiri intervention had a more significant impact, with effects lasting at least seven months. If the dropout rate can be reduced and the clinical significance of these improvements can be established, this type of intervention could be a game-changer in low-resource settings around the world.

Read our full study.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore other cases


Research Informs Our Work

See below on how research guides us every step of the way:

Science can help us shape the future

The goal of our research is to develop interventions that can help youth actualize their life outcomes, identify which interventions work and why, and develop and test novel and accessible approaches to dissemination and scaling in order to maximize our impact.

Open science

Open science allows us to collaborate and share our work with the world. Our data and publications are open access.

Multicultural collaboration

Multicultural and interdisciplinary collaboration amplifies the communities that we serve.

Contextualized research

Research is not done in a silo. It is done with and for communities. Context matters.

"Culture brings us together, and allows us to remain successful across many generations of Shamirians. It is what makes us unique."

Tom Osborn
Founder & CEO | Shamiri