A universal prevention trial of anxiety and depressive symptomatology in childhood: Preliminary data from an Australian study.
MetadataShow full item record
This paper describes the development and preliminary findings of a program designed to prevent the development of anxiety and depressive symptoms in children aged 10 to 13 years. Using a universal prevention approach, a total of 594 children were randomly assigned on a class-by-class basis to either a 10-session family group CBT program (FRIENDS) routinely implemented as part of the school curriculum, or to a comparison group. Pre-post intervention changes were examined universally, and for children who scored above the clinical cut-off for anxiety at pretest. Results revealed that children in the FRIENDS intervention group reported fewer anxiety symptoms, regardless of their risk status, than the comparison group at posttest. In terms of reported levels of depression, only the high anxiety group who completed the FRIENDS intervention evidenced improvements at posttest. Overall, these preliminary results appear to support the benefits of a school-based universal cognitive-behavioural intervention program. Implications of this study are discussed, and long-term follow-up measures are currently underway.