Evaluating the FRIENDS Program: A cognitive-behavioural group treatment for anxious children and their parents.
Conducted the 1st randomized clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of the FRIENDS program, a family-based group cognitive-behavioral treatment (FGCBT) for anxious children. Children (n = 71) ranging from 6 to 10 years of age who fulfilled diagnostic criteria for separation anxiety (SAD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or social phobia (SOP) were randomly allocated to FRIENDS or to a 10-week wait-list control group. The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated at posttreatment and 12-month follow-up. Results indicated that 69% of children who completed FGCBT were diagnosis-free, compared to 6% of children completing the wait-list condition. At 12-month follow-up, 68% of children were diagnosis-free. Beneficial treatment effects were also evident on the self-report measures completed by the children and their mothers. Parents and children reported high treatment satisfaction. Results suggest that FRIENDS is an effective treatment for clinically anxious children. Limitations of this study and directions for future research are discussed.
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology