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The Prevention of Childhood Anxiety in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Communities: A Universal School-Based Trial

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This study is the first to examine the efficacy of the FRIENDS for Life program, a school-based, universal prevention program for childhood anxiety, when delivered exclusively to school-children from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Participants (N = 963) were children from Grades 5, 6 and 7 attending one of three public primary schools in Brisbane, Australia. Participants from all three schools completed a teacher-led intervention, delivered during regular classroom time within one school term. Participants completed measures assessing anxiety and depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, coping skills and psychosocial difficulties at pre, post and 12-month follow-up. Self-report data revealed significant decreases in both anxiety and depressive symptomatology at post-intervention which were maintained at followup. Significant reductions in peer problems and conduct problems, along with significant improvements in self-esteem and the use of coping strategies, were also noted over time. Clinical implications of the findings are discussed, along with limitations and directions for future research.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2010

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  • Published by The Clifford Beers Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Advances in School Mental Health Promotion emphasises the interconnectedness of research, policy, training and practice and the opportunities to make progress in all these areas through global dialogue, collaboration and action. Mark Weist (University of South Carolina and former director/senior advisor of the Center for School Mental Health) and Michael Murray (The Clifford Beers Foundation) are the editors, supported by a distinguished international editorial board.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is an academic journal that co-ordinates the dissemination of new research outcomes to all those involved in policy making and the implementation of mental health promotion in schools and is essential reading for those with a personal or professional interest in this work.

    Peer reviewed by an expert international board, the Journal is a comprehensive information resource which publishes material of distinction submitted by those with a clinical, professional, academic or personal interest in promoting mental health in schools

    The aim of the Journal is to increase awareness, foster understanding and promote collaboration between the different disciplines engaged in this diverse activity of study.

    Advances in School Mental Health Promotion is the official journal of the International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools (InterCAMHS), an alliance that aims to promote the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

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